1689 A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION

by John Locke translated by W ll a! "o##le
HONOURED SIR, Since you are pleased to inquire what are my thoughts about the mutual toleration o !hristians in their di erent pro essions o religion, I must needs answer you reely that I esteem that toleration to be the chie characteristic mar" o the true !hurch# $or whatsoe%er some people boast o the antiquity o places and names, or o the pomp o their outward worship& others, o the re ormation o their discipline& all, o the orthodo'y o their aith( or e%eryone is orthodo' to himsel ( these things, and all others o this nature, are much rather mar"s o men stri%ing or power and empire o%er one another than o the !hurch o !hrist# )et anyone ha%e ne%er so true a claim to all these things, yet i he be destitute o charity, mee"ness, and good(will in general towards all man"ind, e%en to those that are not !hristians, he is certainly yet short o being a true !hristian himsel # *+he "ings o the ,entiles e'ercise leadership o%er them,* said our Sa%iour to his disciples, *but ye shall not be so#*- +he business o true religion is quite another thing# It is not instituted in order to the erecting o an e'ternal pomp, nor to the obtaining o ecclesiastical dominion, nor to the e'ercising o compulsi%e orce, but to the regulating o men.s li%es, according to the rules o %irtue and piety# /hosoe%er will list himsel under the banner o !hrist, must, in the irst place and abo%e all things, ma"e war upon his own lusts and %ices# It is in %ain or any man to unsurp the name o !hristian, without holiness o li e, purity o manners, benignity and mee"ness o spirit# *)et e%eryone that nameth the name o !hrist, depart rom iniquity#*-012 *+hou, when thou art con%erted, strengthen thy brethren,* said our )ord to 3eter#-042 It would, indeed, be %ery hard or one that appears careless about his own sal%ation to persuade me that he were e'tremely concerned or mine# $or it

is impossible that those should sincerely and heartily apply themsel%es to ma"e other people !hristians, who ha%e not really embraced the !hristian religion in their own hearts# I the ,ospel and the apostles may be credited, no man can be a !hristian without charity and without that aith which wor"s, not by orce, but by lo%e# Now, I appeal to the consciences o those that persecute, torment, destroy, and "ill other men upon pretence o religion, whether they do it out o riendship and "indness towards them or no5 6nd I shall then indeed, and not until then, belie%e they do so, when I shall see those iery 7ealots correcting, in the same manner, their riends and amiliar acquaintance or the mani est sins they commit against the precepts o the ,ospel& when I shall see them persecute with ire and sword the members o their own communion that are tainted with enormous %ices and without amendment are in danger o eternal perdition& and when I shall see them thus e'press their lo%e and desire o the sal%ation o their souls by the in liction o torments and e'ercise o all manner o cruelties# $or i it be out o a principle o charity, as they pretend, and lo%e to men.s souls that they depri%e them o their estates, maim them with corporal punishments, star%e and torment them in noisome prisons, and in the end e%en ta"e away their li%es( I say, i all this be done merely to ma"e men !hristians and procure their sal%ation, why then do they su er whoredom, raud, malice, and such(li"e enormities, which 0according to the apostle2-082 mani estly relish o heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their loc"s and people5 +hese, and such(li"e things, are certainly more contrary to the glory o ,od, to the purity o the !hurch, and to the sal%ation o souls, than any conscientious dissent rom ecclesiastical decisions, or separation rom public worship, whilst accompanied with innocence o li e# /hy, then, does this burning 7eal or ,od, or the !hurch, and or the sal%ation o souls( burning I say, literally, with ire and aggot( pass by those moral %ices and wic"ednesses, without any chastisement, which are ac"nowledged by all men to be diametrically opposite to the pro ession o !hristianity, and bend all its ner%es either to the introducing o ceremonies, or to the establishment o opinions, which or the most part are about nice and intricate matters, that e'ceed the capacity o ordinary understandings5 /hich o the parties contending about these things is in the right, which o them is guilty o schism or heresy, whether those that domineer or those that su er, will then at last be mani est when the causes o their separation comes to be 9udged o He, certainly, that ollows !hrist, embraces His doctrine, and bears His yo"e, though he orsa"e both ather and mother, separate rom the public assemblies and ceremonies o his country, or whomsoe%er or whatsoe%er else he relinquishes, will not then be 9udged a heretic#

(- )u"e 11# 1:# (-012 II +im# 1# ;<# (-042 )u"e 11# 41# (-082 Rom# I# ((Now, though the di%isions that are amongst sects should be allowed to be ne%er so obstructi%e o the sal%ation o souls& yet, ne%ertheless, adultery, ornication, uncleanliness, lasci%iousness, idolatry, and such(li"e things, cannot be denied to be wor"s o the lesh, concerning which the apostle has e'pressly declared that *they who do them shall not inherit the "ingdom o ,od#*/hosoe%er, there ore, is sincerely solicitous about the "ingdom o ,od and thin"s it his duty to endea%our the enlargement o it amongst men, ought to apply himsel with no less care and industry to the rooting out o these immoralities than to the e'tirpation o sects# =ut i anyone do otherwise, and whilst he is cruel and implacable towards those that di er rom him in opinion, he be indulgent to such iniquities and immoralities as are unbecoming the name o a !hristian, let such a one tal" ne%er so much o the !hurch, he plainly demonstrates by his actions that it is another "ingdom he aims at and not the ad%ancement o the "ingdom o ,od# (- ,al# :# ((+hat any man should thin" it to cause another man( whose sal%ation he heartily desires( to e'pire in torments, and that e%en in an uncon%erted state, would, I con ess, seem %ery strange to me, and I thin", to any other also# =ut nobody, surely, will e%er belie%e that such a carriage can proceed rom charity, lo%e, or goodwill# I anyone maintain that men ought to be compelled by ire and sword to pro ess certain doctrines, and con orm to this or that e'terior worship, without any regard had unto their morals& i anyone endea%our to con%ert those that are erroneous unto the aith, by orcing them to pro ess things that they do not belie%e and allowing them to practise things that the ,ospel does not permit, it cannot be doubted indeed but such a one is desirous to ha%e a numerous assembly 9oined in the same pro ession with himsel & but that he principally intends by those means to compose a truly !hristian !hurch is altogether incredible# It is not, there ore, to be wondered at i those who do not really contend or the ad%ancement o the true religion, and o the !hurch o !hrist, ma"e use o arms that do not belong to the !hristian war are# I , li"e the !aptain o our sal%ation, they sincerely desired the good o souls, they

would tread in the steps and ollow the per ect e'ample o that 3rince o 3eace, who sent out His soldiers to the subduing o nations, and gathering them into His !hurch, not armed with the sword, or other instruments o orce, but prepared with the ,ospel o peace and with the e'emplary holiness o their con%ersation# +his was His method# +hough i in idels were to be con%erted by orce, i those that are either blind or obstinate were to be drawn o rom their errors by armed soldiers, we "now %ery well that it was much more easy or Him to do it with armies o hea%enly legions than or any son o the !hurch, how potent soe%er, with all his dragoons# ((+he toleration o those that di er rom others in matters o religion is so agreeable to the ,ospel o >esus !hrist, and to the genuine reason o man"ind, that it seems monstrous or men to be so blind as not to percei%e the necessity and ad%antage o it in so clear a light# I will not here ta' the pride and ambition o some, the passion and uncharitable 7eal o others# +hese are aults rom which human a airs can perhaps scarce e%er be per ectly reed& but yet such as nobody will bear the plain imputation o , without co%ering them with some specious colour& and so pretend to commendation, whilst they are carried away by their own irregular passions# =ut, howe%er, that some may not colour their spirit o persecution and unchristian cruelty with a pretence o care o the public weal and obser%ation o the laws& and that others, under pretence o religion, may not see" impunity or their libertinism and licentiousness& in a word, that none may impose either upon himsel or others, by the pretences o loyalty and obedience to the prince, or o tenderness and sincerity in the worship o ,od& I esteem it abo%e all things necessary to distinguish e'actly the business o ci%il go%ernment rom that o religion and to settle the 9ust bounds that lie between the one and the other# I this be not done, there can be no end put to the contro%ersies that will be always arising between those that ha%e, or at least pretend to ha%e, on the one side, a concernment or the interest o men.s souls, and, on the other side, a care o the commonwealth# ((+he commonwealth seems to me to be a society o men constituted only or the procuring, preser%ing, and ad%ancing their own ci%il interests# ((!i%il interests I call li e, liberty, health, and indolency o body& and the possession o outward things, such as money, lands, houses, urniture, and the li"e# ((It is the duty o the ci%il magistrate, by the impartial e'ecution o equal laws, to secure unto all the people in general and to e%ery one o his sub9ects in particular the 9ust possession o these things belonging to this li e# I anyone presume to %iolate the laws o public 9ustice and equity, established or the

preser%ation o those things, his presumption is to be chec"ed by the ear o punishment, consisting o the depri%ation or diminution o those ci%il interests, or goods, which otherwise he might and ought to en9oy# =ut seeing no man does willingly su er himsel to be punished by the depri%ation o any part o his goods, and much less o his liberty or li e, there ore, is the magistrate armed with the orce and strength o all his sub9ects, in order to the punishment o those that %iolate any other man.s rights# ((Now that the whole 9urisdiction o the magistrate reaches only to these ci%il concernments, and that all ci%il power, right and dominion, is bounded and con ined to the only care o promoting these things& and that it neither can nor ought in any manner to be e'tended to the sal%ation o souls, these ollowing considerations seem unto me abundantly to demonstrate# (($irst, because the care o souls is not committed to the ci%il magistrate, any more than to other men# It is not committed unto him, I say, by ,od& because it appears not that ,od has e%er gi%en any such authority to one man o%er another as to compel anyone to his religion# Nor can any such power be %ested in the magistrate by the consent o the people, because no man can so ar abandon the care o his own sal%ation as blindly to lea%e to the choice o any other, whether prince or sub9ect, to prescribe to him what aith or worship he shall embrace# $or no man can, i he would, con orm his aith to the dictates o another# 6ll the li e and power o true religion consist in the inward and ull persuasion o the mind& and aith is not aith without belie%ing# /hate%er pro ession we ma"e, to whate%er outward worship we con orm, i we are not ully satis ied in our own mind that the one is true and the other well pleasing unto ,od, such pro ession and such practice, ar rom being any urtherance, are indeed great obstacles to our sal%ation# $or in this manner, instead o e'piating other sins by the e'ercise o religion, I say, in o ering thus unto ,od 6lmighty such a worship as we esteem to be displeasing unto Him, we add unto the number o our other sins those also o hypocrisy and contempt o His Di%ine ?a9esty# ((In the second place, the care o souls cannot belong to the ci%il magistrate, because his power consists only in outward orce& but true and sa%ing religion consists in the inward persuasion o the mind, without which nothing can be acceptable to ,od# 6nd such is the nature o the understanding, that it cannot be compelled to the belie o anything by outward orce# !on iscation o estate, imprisonment, torments, nothing o that nature can ha%e any such e icacy as to ma"e men change the inward 9udgement that they ha%e ramed o things# ((It may indeed be alleged that the magistrate may ma"e use o arguments, and, thereby& draw the heterodo' into the way o truth, and procure their sal%ation# I

grant it& but this is common to him with other men# In teaching, instructing, and redressing the erroneous by reason, he may certainly do what becomes any good man to do# ?agistracy does not oblige him to put o either humanity or !hristianity& but it is one thing to persuade, another to command& one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties# +his ci%il power alone has a right to do& to the other, goodwill is authority enough# E%ery man has commission to admonish, e'hort, con%ince another o error, and, by reasoning, to draw him into truth& but to gi%e laws, recei%e obedience, and compel with the sword, belongs to none but the magistrate# 6nd, upon this ground, I a irm that the magistrate.s power e'tends not to the establishing o any articles o aith, or orms o worship, by the orce o his laws# $or laws are o no orce at all without penalties, and penalties in this case are absolutely impertinent, because they are not proper to con%ince the mind# Neither the pro ession o any articles o aith, nor the con ormity to any outward orm o worship 0as has been already said2, can be a%ailable to the sal%ation o souls, unless the truth o the one and the acceptableness o the other unto ,od be thoroughly belie%ed by those that so pro ess and practise# =ut penalties are no way capable to produce such belie # It is only light and e%idence that can wor" a change in men.s opinions& which light can in no manner proceed rom corporal su erings, or any other outward penalties# ((In the third place, the care o the sal%ation o men.s souls cannot belong to the magistrate& because, though the rigour o laws and the orce o penalties were capable to con%ince and change men.s minds, yet would not that help at all to the sal%ation o their souls# $or there being but one truth, one way to hea%en, what hope is there that more men would be led into it i they had no rule but the religion o the court and were put under the necessity to quit the light o their own reason, and oppose the dictates o their own consciences, and blindly to resign themsel%es up to the will o their go%ernors and to the religion which either ignorance, ambition, or superstition had chanced to establish in the countries where they were born5 In the %ariety and contradiction o opinions in religion, wherein the princes o the world are as much di%ided as in their secular interests, the narrow way would be much straitened& one country alone would be in the right, and all the rest o the world put under an obligation o ollowing their princes in the ways that lead to destruction& and that which heightens the absurdity, and %ery ill suits the notion o a Deity, men would owe their eternal happiness or misery to the places o their nati%ity# ((+hese considerations, to omit many others that might ha%e been urged to the same purpose, seem unto me su icient to conclude that all the power o ci%il

go%ernment relates only to men.s ci%il interests, is con ined to the care o the things o this world, and hath nothing to do with the world to come# (()et us now consider what a church is# 6 church, then, I ta"e to be a %oluntary society o men, 9oining themsel%es together o their own accord in order to the public worshipping o ,od in such manner as they 9udge acceptable to Him, and e ectual to the sal%ation o their souls# ((I say it is a ree and %oluntary society# Nobody is born a member o any church& otherwise the religion o parents would descend unto children by the same right o inheritance as their temporal estates, and e%eryone would hold his aith by the same tenure he does his lands, than which nothing can be imagined more absurd# +hus, there ore, that matter stands# No man by nature is bound unto any particular church or sect, but e%eryone 9oins himsel %oluntarily to that society in which he belie%es he has ound that pro ession and worship which is truly acceptable to ,od# +he hope o sal%ation, as it was the only cause o his entrance into that communion, so it can be the only reason o his stay there# $or i a terwards he disco%er anything either erroneous in the doctrine or incongruous in the worship o that society to which he has 9oined himsel , why should it not be as ree or him to go out as it was to enter5 No member o a religious society can be tied with any other bonds but what proceed rom the certain e'pectation o eternal li e# 6 church, then, is a society o members %oluntarily uniting to that end# ((It ollows now that we consider what is the power o this church and unto what laws it is sub9ect# (($orasmuch as no society, how ree soe%er, or upon whatsoe%er slight occasion instituted, whether o philosophers or learning, o merchants or commerce, or o men o leisure or mutual con%ersation and discourse, no church or company, I say, can in the least subsist and hold together, but will presently dissol%e and brea" in pieces, unless it be regulated by some laws, and the members all consent to obser%e some order# 3lace and time o meeting must be agreed on& rules or admitting and e'cluding members must be established& distinction o o icers, and putting things into a regular course, and suchli"e, cannot be omitted# =ut since the 9oining together o se%eral members into this church(society, as has already been demonstrated, is absolutely ree and spontaneous, it necessarily ollows that the right o ma"ing its laws can belong to none but the society itsel & or, at least 0which is the same thing2, to those whom the society by common consent has authorised thereunto#

((Some, perhaps, may ob9ect that no such society can be said to be a true church unless it ha%e in it a bishop or presbyter, with ruling authority deri%ed rom the %ery apostles, and continued down to the present times by an uninterrupted succession# ((+o these I answer@ In the irst place, let them show me the edict by which !hrist has imposed that law upon His !hurch# 6nd let not any man thin" me impertinent, i in a thing o this consequence I require that the terms o that edict be %ery e'press and positi%e& or the promise He has made us,- that *wheresoe%er two or three are gathered together* in His name, He will be in the midst o them, seems to imply the contrary# /hether such an assembly want anything necessary to a true church, pray do you consider# !ertain I am that nothing can be there wanting unto the sal%ation o souls, which is su icient to our purpose# (- ?att# ;A# 1B# ((Ne't, pray obser%e how great ha%e always been the di%isions amongst e%en those who lay so much stress upon the Di%ine institution and continued succession o a certain order o rulers in the !hurch# Now, their %ery dissension una%oidably puts us upon a necessity o deliberating and, consequently, allows a liberty o choosing that which upon consideration we pre er# ((6nd, in the last place, I consent that these men ha%e a ruler in their church, established by such a long series o succession as they 9udge necessary, pro%ided I may ha%e liberty at the same time to 9oin mysel to that society in which I am persuaded those things are to be ound which are necessary to the sal%ation o my soul# In this manner ecclesiastical liberty will be preser%ed on all sides, and no man will ha%e a legislator imposed upon him but whom himsel has chosen# ((=ut since men are so solicitous about the true church, I would only as" them here, by the way, i it be not more agreeable to the !hurch o !hrist to ma"e the conditions o her communion consist in such things, and such things only, as the Holy Spirit has in the Holy Scriptures declared, in e'press words, to be necessary to sal%ation& I as", I say, whether this be not more agreeable to the !hurch o !hrist than or men to impose their own in%entions and interpretations upon others as i they were o Di%ine authority, and to establish by ecclesiastical laws, as absolutely necessary to the pro ession o !hristianity, such things as the Holy Scriptures do either not mention, or at least not e'pressly command5 /hosoe%er requires those things in order to ecclesiastical communion, which !hrist does not require in order to li e eternal, he may,

perhaps, indeed constitute a society accommodated to his own opinion and his own ad%antage& but how that can be called the !hurch o !hrist which is established upon laws that are not His, and which e'cludes such persons rom its communion as He will one day recei%e into the Cingdom o Hea%en, I understand not# =ut this being not a proper place to inquire into the mar"s o the true church, I will only mind those that contend so earnestly or the decrees o their own society, and that cry out continually, *+he !hurchD the !hurchD* with as much noise, and perhaps upon the same principle, as the Ephesian sil%ersmiths did or their Diana& this, I say, I desire to mind them o , that the ,ospel requently declares that the true disciples o !hrist must su er persecution& but that the !hurch o !hrist should persecute others, and orce others by ire and sword to embrace her aith and doctrine, I could ne%er yet ind in any o the boo"s o the New +estament# ((+he end o a religious society 0as has already been said2 is the public worship o ,od and, by means thereo , the acquisition o eternal li e# 6ll discipline ought, there ore, to tend to that end, and all ecclesiastical laws to be thereunto con ined# Nothing ought nor can be transacted in this society relating to the possession o ci%il and worldly goods# No orce is here to be made use o upon any occasion whatsoe%er# $or orce belongs wholly to the ci%il magistrate, and the possession o all outward goods is sub9ect to his 9urisdiction# ((=ut, it may be as"ed, by what means then shall ecclesiastical laws be established, i they must be thus destitute o all compulsi%e power5 I answer@ +hey must be established by means suitable to the nature o such things, whereo the e'ternal pro ession and obser%ation( i not proceeding rom a thorough con%iction and approbation o the mind( is altogether useless and unpro itable# +he arms by which the members o this society are to be "ept within their duty are e'hortations, admonitions, and ad%ices# I by these means the o enders will not be reclaimed, and the erroneous con%inced, there remains nothing urther to be done but that such stubborn and obstinate persons, who gi%e no ground to hope or their re ormation, should be cast out and separated rom the society# +his is the last and utmost orce o ecclesiastical authority# No other punishment can thereby be in licted than that, the relation ceasing between the body and the member which is cut o # +he person so condemned ceases to be a part o that church# ((+hese things being thus determined, let us inquire, in the ne't place@ How ar the duty o toleration e'tends, and what is required rom e%eryone by it5 ((6nd, irst, I hold that no church is bound, by the duty o toleration, to retain any such person in her bosom as, a ter admonition, continues obstinately to

o end against the laws o the society# $or, these being the condition o communion and the bond o the society, i the breach o them were permitted without any animad%ersion the society would immediately be thereby dissol%ed# =ut, ne%ertheless, in all such cases care is to be ta"en that the sentence o e'communication, and the e'ecution thereo , carry with it no rough usage o word or action whereby the e9ected person may any wise be damni ied in body or estate# $or all orce 0as has o ten been said2 belongs only to the magistrate, nor ought any pri%ate persons at any time to use orce, unless it be in sel (de ence against un9ust %iolence# E'communication neither does, nor can, depri%e the e'communicated person o any o those ci%il goods that he ormerly possessed# 6ll those things belong to the ci%il go%ernment and are under the magistrate.s protection# +he whole orce o e'communication consists only in this@ that, the resolution o the society in that respect being declared, the union that was between the body and some member comes thereby to be dissol%ed& and, that relation ceasing, the participation o some certain things which the society communicated to its members, and unto which no man has any ci%il right, comes also to cease# $or there is no ci%il in9ury done unto the e'communicated person by the church minister.s re using him that bread and wine, in the celebration o the )ord.s Supper, which was not bought with his but other men.s money# ((Secondly, no pri%ate person has any right in any manner to pre9udice another person in his ci%il en9oyments because he is o another church or religion# 6ll the rights and ranchises that belong to him as a man, or as a deni7en, are in%iolably to be preser%ed to him# +hese are not the business o religion# No %iolence nor in9ury is to be o ered him, whether he be !hristian or 3agan# Nay, we must not content oursel%es with the narrow measures o bare 9ustice& charity, bounty, and liberality must be added to it# +his the ,ospel en9oins, this reason directs, and this that natural ellowship we are born into requires o us# I any man err rom the right way, it is his own mis ortune, no in9ury to thee& nor there ore art thou to punish him in the things o this li e because thou supposest he will be miserable in that which is to come# ((/hat I say concerning the mutual toleration o pri%ate persons di ering rom one another in religion, I understand also o particular churches which stand, as it were, in the same relation to each other as pri%ate persons among themsel%es@ nor has any one o them any manner o 9urisdiction o%er any other& no, not e%en when the ci%il magistrate 0as it sometimes happens2 comes to be o this or the other communion# $or the ci%il go%ernment can gi%e no new right to the church, nor the church to the ci%il go%ernment# So that, whether the magistrate 9oin himsel to any church, or separate rom it, the church remains always as it

was be ore( a ree and %oluntary society# It neither requires the power o the sword by the magistrate.s coming to it, nor does it lose the right o instruction and e'communication by his going rom it# +his is the undamental and immutable right o a spontaneous society( that it has power to remo%e any o its members who transgress the rules o its institution& but it cannot, by the accession o any new members, acquire any right o 9urisdiction o%er those that are not 9oined with it# 6nd there ore peace, equity, and riendship are always mutually to be obser%ed by particular churches, in the same manner as by pri%ate persons, without any pretence o superiority or 9urisdiction o%er one another# ((@+hat the thing may be made clearer by an e'ample, let us suppose two churches (( the one o 6rminians, the other o !al%inists( residing in the city o !onstantinople# /ill anyone say that either o these churches has right to depri%e the members o the other o their estates and liberty 0as we see practised elsewhere2 because o their di ering rom it in some doctrines and ceremonies, whilst the +ur"s, in the meanwhile, silently stand by and laugh to see with what inhuman cruelty !hristians thus rage against !hristians5 =ut i one o these churches hath this power o treating the other ill, I as" which o them it is to whom that power belongs, and by what right5 It will be answered, undoubtedly, that it is the orthodo' church which has the right o authority o%er the erroneous or heretical# +his is, in great and specious words, to say 9ust nothing at all# $or e%ery church is orthodo' to itsel & to others, erroneous or heretical# $or whatsoe%er any church belie%es, it belie%es to be true and the contrary unto those things it pronounce& to be error# So that the contro%ersy between these churches about the truth o their doctrines and the purity o their worship is on both sides equal& nor is there any 9udge, either at !onstantinople or elsewhere upon earth, by whose sentence it can be determined# +he decision o that question belongs only to the Supreme 9udge o all men, to whom also alone belongs the punishment o the erroneous# In the meanwhile, let those men consider how heinously they sin, who, adding in9ustice, i not to their error, yet certainly to their pride, do rashly and arrogantly ta"e upon them to misuse the ser%ants o another master, who are not at all accountable to them# ((Nay, urther@ i it could be mani est which o these two dissenting churches were in the right, there would not accrue thereby unto the orthodo' any right o destroying the other# $or churches ha%e neither any 9urisdiction in worldly matters, nor are ire and sword any proper instruments wherewith to con%ince men.s minds o error, and in orm them o the truth# )et us suppose, ne%ertheless, that the ci%il magistrate inclined to a%our one o them and to put his sword into their hands that 0by his consent2 they might chastise the

dissenters as they pleased# /ill any man say that any right can be deri%ed unto a !hristian church o%er its brethren rom a +ur"ish emperor5 6n in idel, who has himsel no authority to punish !hristians or the articles o their aith, cannot con er such an authority upon any society o !hristians, nor gi%e unto them a right which he has not himsel # +his would be the case at !onstantinople& and the reason o the thing is the same in any !hristian "ingdom# +he ci%il power is the same in e%ery place# Nor can that power, in the hands o a !hristian prince, con er any greater authority upon the !hurch than in the hands o a heathen& which is to say, 9ust none at all# ((Ne%ertheless, it is worthy to be obser%ed and lamented that the most %iolent o these de enders o the truth, the opposers o errors, the e'claimers against schism do hardly e%er let loose this their 7eal or ,od, with which they are so warmed and in lamed, unless where they ha%e the ci%il magistrate on their side# =ut so soon as e%er court a%our has gi%en them the better end o the sta , and they begin to eel themsel%es the stronger, then presently peace and charity are to be laid aside# Otherwise they are religiously to be obser%ed# /here they ha%e not the power to carry on persecution and to become masters, there they desire to li%e upon air terms and preach up toleration# /hen they are not strengthened with the ci%il power, then they can bear most patiently and unmo%edly the contagion o idolatry, superstition, and heresy in their neighbourhood& o which on other occasions the interest o religion ma"es them to be e'tremely apprehensi%e# +hey do not orwardly attac" those errors which are in ashion at court or are countenanced by the go%ernment# Here they can be content to spare their arguments& which yet 0with their lea%e2 is the only right method o propagating truth, which has no such way o pre%ailing as when strong arguments and good reason are 9oined with the so tness o ci%ility and good usage# ((Nobody, there ore, in ine, neither single persons nor churches, nay, nor e%en commonwealths, ha%e any 9ust title to in%ade the ci%il rights and worldly goods o each other upon pretence o religion# +hose that are o another opinion would do well to consider with themsel%es how pernicious a seed o discord and war, how power ul a pro%ocation to endless hatreds, rapines, and slaughters they thereby urnish unto man"ind# No peace and security, no, not so much as common riendship, can e%er be established or preser%ed amongst men so long as this opinion pre%ails, that dominion is ounded in grace and that religion is to be propagated by orce o arms# ((In the third place, let us see what the duty o toleration requires rom those who are distinguished rom the rest o man"ind 0 rom the laity, as they please

to call us2 by some ecclesiastical character and o ice& whether they be bishops, priests, presbyters, ministers, or howe%er else digni ied or distinguished# It is not my business to inquire here into the original o the power or dignity o the clergy# +his only I say, that, whencesoe%er their authority be sprung, since it is ecclesiastical, it ought to be con ined within the bounds o the !hurch, nor can it in any manner be e'tended to ci%il a airs, because the !hurch itsel is a thing absolutely separate and distinct rom the commonwealth# +he boundaries on both sides are i'ed and immo%able# He 9umbles hea%en and earth together, the things most remote and opposite, who mi'es these two societies, which are in their original, end, business, and in e%erything per ectly distinct and in initely di erent rom each other# No man, there ore, with whatsoe%er ecclesiastical o ice he be digni ied, can depri%e another man that is not o his church and aith either o liberty or o any part o his worldly goods upon the account o that di erence between them in religion# $or whatsoe%er is not law ul to the whole !hurch cannot by any ecclesiastical right become law ul to any o its members# ((=ut this is not all# It is not enough that ecclesiastical men abstain rom %iolence and rapine and all manner o persecution# He that pretends to be a successor o the apostles, and ta"es upon him the o ice o teaching, is obliged also to admonish his hearers o the duties o peace and goodwill towards all men, as well towards the erroneous as the orthodo'& towards those that di er rom them in aith and worship as well as towards those that agree with them therein# 6nd he ought industriously to e'hort all men, whether pri%ate persons or magistrates 0i any such there be in his church2, to charity, mee"ness, and toleration, and diligently endea%our to ally and temper all that heat and unreasonable a%erseness o mind which either any man.s iery 7eal or his own sect or the cra t o others has "indled against dissenters# I will not underta"e to represent how happy and how great would be the ruit, both in !hurch and State, i the pulpits e%erywhere sounded with this doctrine o peace and toleration, lest I should seem to re lect too se%erely upon those men whose dignity I desire not to detract rom, nor would ha%e it diminished either by others or themsel%es# =ut this I say, that thus it ought to be# 6nd i anyone that pro esses himsel to be a minister o the /ord o ,od, a preacher o the gospel o peace, teach otherwise, he either understands not or neglects the business o his calling and shall one day gi%e account thereo unto the 3rince o 3eace# I !hristians are to be admonished that they abstain rom all manner o re%enge, e%en a ter repeated pro%ocations and multiplied in9uries, how much more ought they who su er nothing, who ha%e had no harm done them, orbear %iolence and abstain rom all manner o ill(usage towards those rom whom they ha%e recei%ed noneD +his caution and temper they ought certainly to use towards

those# who mind only their own business and are solicitous or nothing but that 0whate%er men thin" o them2 they may worship ,od in that manner which they are persuaded is acceptable to Him and in which they ha%e the strongest hopes o eternal sal%ation# In pri%ate domestic a airs, in the management o estates, in the conser%ation o bodily health, e%ery man may consider what suits his own con%enience and ollow what course he li"es best# No man complains o the ill(management o his neighbour.s a airs# No man is angry with another or an error committed in sowing his land or in marrying his daughter# Nobody corrects a spendthri t or consuming his substance in ta%erns# )et any man pull down, or build, or ma"e whatsoe%er e'penses he pleases, nobody murmurs, nobody controls him& he has his liberty# =ut i any man do not requent the church, i he do not there con orm his beha%iour e'actly to the accustomed ceremonies, or i he brings not his children to be initiated in the sacred mysteries o this or the other congregation, this immediately causes an uproar# +he neighbourhood is illed with noise and clamour# E%eryone is ready to be the a%enger o so great a crime, and the 7ealots hardly ha%e the patience to re rain rom %iolence and rapine so long till the cause be heard and the poor man be, according to orm, condemned to the loss o liberty, goods, or li e# Oh, that our ecclesiastical orators o e%ery sect would apply themsel%es with all the strength o arguments that they are able to the con ounding o men.s errorsD =ut let them spare their persons# )et them not supply their want o reasons with the instruments o orce, which belong to another 9urisdiction and do ill become a !hurchman.s hands# )et them not call in the magistrate.s authority to the aid o their eloquence or learning, lest perhaps, whilst they pretend only lo%e or the truth, this their intemperate 7eal, breathing nothing but ire and sword, betray their ambition and show that what they desire is temporal dominion# $or it will be %ery di icult to persuade men o sense that he who with dry eyes and satis action o mind can deli%er his brother to the e'ecutioner to be burnt ali%e, does sincerely and heartily concern himsel to sa%e that brother rom the lames o hell in the world to come# ((In the last place, let us now consider what is the magistrate.s duty in the business o toleration, which certainly is %ery considerable# ((/e ha%e already pro%ed that the care o souls does not belong to the magistrate# Not a magisterial care, I mean 0i I may so call it2, which consists in prescribing by laws and compelling by punishments# =ut a charitable care, which consists in teaching, admonishing, and persuading, cannot be denied unto any man# +he care, there ore, o e%ery man.s soul belongs unto himsel and is to be le t unto himsel # =ut what i he neglect the care o his soul5 I answer@ /hat i he neglect the care o his health or o his estate, which things

are nearlier related to the go%ernment o the magistrate than the other5 /ill the magistrate pro%ide by an e'press law that such a one shall not become poor or sic"5 )aws pro%ide, as much as is possible, that the goods and health o sub9ects be not in9ured by the raud and %iolence o others& they do not guard them rom the negligence or ill(husbandry o the possessors themsel%es# No man can be orced to be rich or health ul whether he will or no# Nay, ,od Himsel will not sa%e men against their wills# )et us suppose, howe%er, that some prince were desirous to orce his sub9ects to accumulate riches, or to preser%e the health and strength o their bodies# Shall it be pro%ided by law that they must consult none but Roman physicians, and shall e%eryone be bound to li%e according to their prescriptions5 /hat, shall no potion, no broth, be ta"en, but what is prepared either in the Eatican, suppose, or in a ,ene%a shop5 Or, to ma"e these sub9ects rich, shall they all be obliged by law to become merchants or musicians5 Or, shall e%eryone turn %ictualler, or smith, because there are some that maintain their amilies plenti ully and grow rich in those pro essions5 =ut, it may be said, there are a thousand ways to wealth, but one only way to hea%en# It is well said, indeed, especially by those that plead or compelling men into this or the other way# $or i there were se%eral ways that led thither, there would not be so much as a pretence le t or compulsion# =ut now, i I be marching on with my utmost %igour in that way which, according to the sacred geography, leads straight to >erusalem, why am I beaten and ill( used by others because, perhaps, I wear not bus"ins& because my hair is not o the right cut& because, perhaps, I ha%e not been dipped in the right ashion& because I eat lesh upon the road, or some other ood which agrees with my stomach& because I a%oid certain by(ways, which seem unto me to lead into briars or precipices& because, amongst the se%eral paths that are in the same road, I choose that to wal" in which seems to be the straightest and cleanest& because I a%oid to "eep company with some tra%ellers that are less gra%e and others that are more sour than they ought to be& or, in ine, because I ollow a guide that either is, or is not, clothed in white, or crowned with a mitre5 !ertainly, i we consider right, we shall ind that, or the most part, they are such ri%olous things as these that 0without any pre9udice to religion or the sal%ation o souls, i not accompanied with superstition or hypocrisy2 might either be obser%ed or omitted# I say they are such(li"e things as these which breed implacable enmities amongst !hristian brethren, who are all agreed in the substantial and truly undamental part o religion# ((=ut let us grant unto these 7ealots, who condemn all things that are not o their mode, that rom these circumstances are di erent ends# /hat shall we conclude rom thence5 +here is only one o these which is the true way to eternal happiness@ but in this great %ariety o ways that men ollow, it is still

doubted which is the right one# Now, neither the care o the commonwealth, nor the right enacting o laws, does disco%er this way that leads to hea%en more certainly to the magistrate than e%ery pri%ate man.s search and study disco%ers it unto himsel # I ha%e a wea" body, sun" under a languishing disease, or which 0I suppose2 there is one only remedy, but that un"nown# Does it there ore belong unto the magistrate to prescribe me a remedy, because there is but one, and because it is un"nown5 =ecause there is but one way or me to escape death, will it there ore be sa e or me to do whatsoe%er the magistrate ordains5 +hose things that e%ery man ought sincerely to inquire into himsel , and by meditation, study, search, and his own endea%ours, attain the "nowledge o , cannot be loo"ed upon as the peculiar possession o any sort o men# 3rinces, indeed, are born superior unto other men in power, but in nature equal# Neither the right nor the art o ruling does necessarily carry along with it the certain "nowledge o other things, and least o all o true religion# $or i it were so, how could it come to pass that the lords o the earth should di er so %astly as they do in religious matters5 =ut let us grant that it is probable the way to eternal li e may be better "nown by a prince than by his sub9ects, or at least that in this incertitude o things the sa est and most commodious way or pri%ate persons is to ollow his dictates# Fou will say@ */hat then5* I he should bid you ollow merchandise or your li%elihood, would you decline that course or ear it should not succeed5 I answer@ I would turn merchant upon the prince.s command, because, in case I should ha%e ill(success in trade, he is abundantly able to ma"e up my loss some other way# I it be true, as he pretends, that he desires I should thri%e and grow rich, he can set me up again when unsuccess ul %oyages ha%e bro"en me# =ut this is not the case in the things that regard the li e to come& i there I ta"e a wrong course, i in that respect I am once undone, it is not in the magistrate.s power to repair my loss, to ease my su ering, nor to restore me in any measure, much less entirely, to a good estate# /hat security can be gi%en or the Cingdom o Hea%en5 ((3erhaps some will say that they do not suppose this in allible 9udgement, that all men are bound to ollow in the a airs o religion, to be in the ci%il magistrate, but in the !hurch# /hat the !hurch has determined, that the ci%il magistrate orders to be obser%ed& and he pro%ides by his authority that nobody shall either act or belie%e in the business o religion otherwise than the !hurch teaches# So that the 9udgement o those things is in the !hurch& the magistrate himsel yields obedience thereunto and requires the li"e obedience rom others# I answer@ /ho sees not how requently the name o the !hurch, which was %enerable in time o the apostles, has been made use o to throw dust in the people.s eyes in the ollowing ages5 =ut, howe%er, in the present case it helps us not# +he one only narrow way which leads to hea%en is not better "nown to

the magistrate than to pri%ate persons, and there ore I cannot sa ely ta"e him or my guide, who may probably be as ignorant o the way as mysel , and who certainly is less concerned or my sal%ation than I mysel am# 6mongst so many "ings o the >ews, how many o them were there whom any Israelite, thus blindly ollowing, had not allen into idolatry and thereby into destruction5 Fet, ne%ertheless, you bid me be o good courage and tell me that all is now sa e and secure, because the magistrate does not now en9oin the obser%ance o his own decrees in matters o religion, but only the decrees o the !hurch# O what !hurch, I beseech you5 o that, certainly, which li"es him best# 6s i he that compels me by laws and penalties to enter into this or the other !hurch, did not interpose his own 9udgement in the matter# /hat di erence is there whether he lead me himsel , or deli%er me o%er to be led by others5 I depend both ways upon his will, and it is he that determines both ways o my eternal state# /ould an Israelite that had worshipped =aal upon the command o his "ing ha%e been in any better condition because somebody had told him that the "ing ordered nothing in religion upon his own head, nor commanded anything to be done by his sub9ects in di%ine worship but what was appro%ed by the counsel o priests, and declared to be o di%ine right by the doctors o their !hurch5 I the religion o any !hurch become, there ore, true and sa%ing, because the head o that sect, the prelates and priests, and those o that tribe, do all o them, with all their might, e'tol and praise it, what religion can e%er be accounted erroneous, alse, and destructi%e5 I am doubt ul concerning the doctrine o the Socinians, I am suspicious o the way o worship practised by the 3apists, or )utherans& will it be e%er a 9ot sa er or me to 9oin either unto the one or the other o those !hurches, upon the magistrate.s command, because he commands nothing in religion but by the authority and counsel o the doctors o that !hurch5 ((=ut, to spea" the truth, we must ac"nowledge that the !hurch 0i a con%ention o clergymen, ma"ing canons, must be called by that name2 is or the most part more apt to be in luenced by the !ourt than the !ourt by the !hurch# How the !hurch was under the %icissitude o orthodo' and 6rian emperors is %ery well "nown# Or i those things be too remote, our modern English history a ords us resh e'amples in the reigns o Henry EIII, Edward EI, ?ary, and Eli7abeth, how easily and smoothly the clergy changed their decrees, their articles o aith, their orm o worship, e%erything according to the inclination o those "ings and queens# Fet were those "ings and queens o such di erent minds in point o religion, and en9oined thereupon such di erent things, that no man in his wits 0I had almost said none but an atheist2 will presume to say that any sincere and upright worshipper o ,od could, with a sa e conscience, obey their se%eral decrees# +o conclude, it is the same thing whether a "ing that prescribes laws to another man.s religion pretend to do it by his own 9udgement, or by the

ecclesiastical authority and ad%ice o others# +he decisions o churchmen, whose di erences and disputes are su iciently "nown, cannot be any sounder or sa er than his& nor can all their su rages 9oined together add a new strength to the ci%il power# +hough this also must be ta"en notice o ( that princes seldom ha%e any regard to the su rages o ecclesiastics that are not a%ourers o their own aith and way o worship# ((=ut, a ter all, the principal consideration, and which absolutely determines this contro%ersy, is this@ 6lthough the magistrate.s opinion in religion be sound, and the way that he appoints be truly E%angelical, yet, i I be not thoroughly persuaded thereo in my own mind, there will be no sa ety or me in ollowing it# No way whatsoe%er that I shall wal" in against the dictates o my conscience will e%er bring me to the mansions o the blessed# I may grow rich by an art that I ta"e not delight in& I may be cured o some disease by remedies that I ha%e not aith in& but I cannot be sa%ed by a religion that I distrust and by a worship that I abhor# It is in %ain or an unbelie%er to ta"e up the outward show o another man.s pro ession# $aith only and inward sincerity are the things that procure acceptance with ,od# +he most li"ely and most appro%ed remedy can ha%e no e ect upon the patient, i his stomach re9ect it as soon as ta"en& and you will in %ain cram a medicine down a sic" man.s throat, which his particular constitution will be sure to turn into poison# In a word, whatsoe%er may be doubt ul in religion, yet this at least is certain, that no religion which I belie%e not to be true can be either true or pro itable unto me# In %ain, there ore, do princes compel their sub9ects to come into their !hurch communion, under pretence o sa%ing their souls# I they belie%e, they will come o their own accord, i they belie%e not, their coming will nothing a%ail them# How great soe%er, in ine, may be the pretence o good(will and charity, and concern or the sal%ation o men.s souls, men cannot be orced to be sa%ed whether they will or no# 6nd there ore, when all is done, they must be le t to their own consciences# ((Ha%ing thus at length reed men rom all dominion o%er one another in matters o religion, let us now consider what they are to do# 6ll men "now and ac"nowledge that ,od ought to be publicly worshipped& why otherwise do they compel one another unto the public assemblies5 ?en, there ore, constituted in this liberty are to enter into some religious society, that they meet together, not only or mutual edi ication, but to own to the world that they worship ,od and o er unto His Di%ine ?a9esty such ser%ice as they themsel%es are not ashamed o and such as they thin" not unworthy o Him, nor unacceptable to Him& and, inally, that by the purity o doctrine, holiness o li e, and decent orm o

worship, they may draw others unto the lo%e o the true religion, and per orm such other things in religion as cannot be done by each pri%ate man apart# ((+hese religious societies I call !hurches& and these, I say, the magistrate ought to tolerate, or the business o these assemblies o the people is nothing but what is law ul or e%ery man in particular to ta"e care o ( I mean the sal%ation o their souls& nor in this case is there any di erence between the National !hurch and other separated congregations# ((=ut as in e%ery !hurch there are two things especially to be considered( the outward orm and rites o worship, and the doctrines and articles o things must be handled each distinctly that so the whole matter o toleration may the more clearly be understood# ((!oncerning outward worship, I say, in the irst place, that the magistrate has no power to en orce by law, either in his own !hurch, or much less in another, the use o any rites or ceremonies whatsoe%er in the worship o ,od# 6nd this, not only because these !hurches are ree societies, but because whatsoe%er is practised in the worship o ,od is only so ar 9usti iable as it is belie%ed by those that practise it to be acceptable unto Him# /hatsoe%er is not done with that assurance o aith is neither well in itsel , nor can it be acceptable to ,od# +o impose such things, there ore, upon any people, contrary to their own 9udgment, is in e ect to command them to o end ,od, which, considering that the end o all religion is to please Him, and that liberty is essentially necessary to that end, appears to be absurd beyond e'pression# ((=ut perhaps it may be concluded rom hence that I deny unto the magistrate all manner o power about indi erent things, which, i it be not granted, the whole sub9ect(matter o law(ma"ing is ta"en away# No, I readily grant that indi erent things, and perhaps none but such, are sub9ected to the legislati%e power# =ut it does not there ore ollow that the magistrate may ordain whatsoe%er he pleases concerning anything that is indi erent# +he public good is the rule and measure o all law(ma"ing# I a thing be not use ul to the commonwealth, though it be ne%er so indi erent, it may not presently be established by law# ((6nd urther, things ne%er so indi erent in their own nature, when they are brought into the !hurch and worship o ,od, are remo%ed out o the reach o the magistrate.s 9urisdiction, because in that use they ha%e no connection at all with ci%il a airs# +he only business o the !hurch is the sal%ation o souls, and it no way concerns the commonwealth, or any member o it, that this or the other ceremony be there made use o # Neither the use nor the omission o any

ceremonies in those religious assemblies does either ad%antage or pre9udice the li e, liberty, or estate o any man# $or e'ample, let it be granted that the washing o an in ant with water is in itsel an indi erent thing, let it be granted also that the magistrate understand such washing to be pro itable to the curing or pre%enting o any disease the children are sub9ect unto, and esteem the matter weighty enough to be ta"en care o by a law# In that case he may order it to be done# =ut will any one there ore say that a magistrate has the same right to ordain by law that all children shall be baptised by priests in the sacred ont in order to the puri ication o their souls5 +he e'treme di erence o these two cases is %isible to e%ery one at irst sight# Or let us apply the last case to the child o a >ew, and the thing spea"s itsel # $or what hinders but a !hristian magistrate may ha%e sub9ects that are >ews5 Now, i we ac"nowledge that such an in9ury may not be done unto a >ew as to compel him, against his own opinion, to practise in his religion a thing that is in its nature indi erent, how can we maintain that anything o this "ind may be done to a !hristian5 ((6gain, things in their own nature indi erent cannot, by any human authority, be made any part o the worship o ,od( or this %ery reason@ because they are indi erent# $or, since indi erent things are not capable, by any %irtue o their own, to propitiate the Deity, no human power or authority can con er on them so much dignity and e'cellency as to enable them to do it# In the common a airs o li e that use o indi erent things which ,od has not orbidden is ree and law ul, and there ore in those things human authority has place# =ut it is not so in matters o religion# +hings indi erent are not otherwise law ul in the worship o ,od than as they are instituted by ,od Himsel and as He, by some positi%e command, has ordained them to be made a part o that worship which He will %ouchsa e to accept at the hands o poor sin ul men# Nor, when an incensed Deity shall as" us, */ho has required these, or such(li"e things at your hands5* will it be enough to answer Him that the magistrate commanded them# I ci%il 9urisdiction e'tend thus ar, what might not law ully be introduced into religion5 /hat hodgepodge o ceremonies, what superstitious in%entions, built upon the magistrate.s authority, might not 0against conscience2 be imposed upon the worshippers o ,od5 $or the greatest part o these ceremonies and superstitions consists in the religious use o such things as are in their own nature indi erent& nor are they sin ul upon any other account than because ,od is not the author o them# +he sprin"ling o water and the use o bread and wine are both in their own nature and in the ordinary occasions o li e altogether indi erent# /ill any man, there ore, say that these things could ha%e been introduced into religion and made a part o di%ine worship i not by di%ine institution5 I any human authority or ci%il power could ha%e done this, why might it not also en9oin the eating o ish and drin"ing o ale in the holy

banquet as a part o di%ine worship5 /hy not the sprin"ling o the blood o beasts in churches, and e'piations by water or ire, and abundance more o this "ind5 =ut these things, how indi erent soe%er they be in common uses, when they come to be anne'ed unto di%ine worship, without di%ine authority, they are as abominable to ,od as the sacri ice o a dog# 6nd why is a dog so abominable5 /hat di erence is there between a dog and a goat, in respect o the di%ine nature, equally and in initely distant rom all a inity with matter, unless it be that ,od required the use o one in His worship and not o the other5 /e see, there ore, that indi erent things, how much soe%er they be under the power o the ci%il magistrate, yet cannot, upon that pretence, be introduced into religion and imposed upon religious assemblies, because, in the worship o ,od, they wholly cease to be indi erent# He that worships ,od does it with design to please Him and procure His a%our# =ut that cannot be done by him who, upon the command o another, o ers unto ,od that which he "nows will be displeasing to Him, because not commanded by Himsel # +his is not to please ,od, or appease his wrath, but willingly and "nowingly to pro%o"e Him by a mani est contempt, which is a thing absolutely repugnant to the nature and end o worship# ((=ut it will be here as"ed@ *I nothing belonging to di%ine worship be le t to human discretion, how is it then that !hurches themsel%es ha%e the power o ordering anything about the time and place o worship and the li"e5* +o this I answer that in religious worship we must distinguish between what is part o the worship itsel and what is but a circumstance# +hat is a part o the worship which is belie%ed to be appointed by ,od and to be well(pleasing to Him, and there ore that is necessary# !ircumstances are such things which, though in general they cannot be separated rom worship, yet the particular instances or modi ications o them are not determined, and there ore they are indi erent# O this sort are the time and place o worship, habit and posture o him that worships# +hese are circumstances, and per ectly indi erent, where ,od has not gi%en any e'press command about them# $or e'ample@ amongst the >ews the time and place o their worship and the habits o those that o iciated in it were not mere circumstances, but a part o the worship itsel , in which, i anything were de ecti%e, or di erent rom the institution, they could not hope that it would be accepted by ,od# =ut these, to !hristians under the liberty o the ,ospel, are mere circumstances o worship, which the prudence o e%ery !hurch may bring into such use as shall be 9udged most subser%ient to the end o order, decency, and edi ication# =ut, e%en under the ,ospel, those who belie%e the irst or the se%enth day to be set apart by ,od, and consecrated still to His worship, to them that portion o time is not a simple circumstance, but a real part o Di%ine worship, which can neither be changed nor neglected#

((In the ne't place@ 6s the magistrate has no power to impose by his laws the use o any rites and ceremonies in any !hurch, so neither has he any power to orbid the use o such rites and ceremonies as are already recei%ed, appro%ed, and practised by any !hurch& because, i he did so, he would destroy the !hurch itsel @ the end o whose institution is only to worship ,od with reedom a ter its own manner# ((Fou will say, by this rule, i some congregations should ha%e a mind to sacri ice in ants, or 0as the primiti%e !hristians were alsely accused2 lust ully pollute themsel%es in promiscuous uncleanness, or practise any other such heinous enormities, is the magistrate obliged to tolerate them, because they are committed in a religious assembly5 I answer@ No# +hese things are not law ul in the ordinary course o li e, nor in any pri%ate house& and there ore neither are they so in the worship o ,od, or in any religious meeting# =ut, indeed, i any people congregated upon account o religion should be desirous to sacri ice a cal , I deny that that ought to be prohibited by a law# ?eliboeus, whose cal it is, may law ully "ill his cal at home, and burn any part o it that he thin"s it# $or no in9ury is thereby done to any one, no pre9udice to another man.s goods# 6nd or the same reason he may "ill his cal also in a religious meeting# /hether the doing so be well(pleasing to ,od or no, it is their part to consider that do it# +he part o the magistrate is only to ta"e care that the commonwealth recei%e no pre9udice, and that there be no in9ury done to any man, either in li e or estate# 6nd thus what may be spent on a east may be spent on a sacri ice# =ut i perad%enture such were the state o things that the interest o the commonwealth required all slaughter o beasts should be orborne or some while, in order to the increasing o the stoc" o cattle that had been destroyed by some e'traordinary murrain, who sees not that the magistrate, in such a case, may orbid all his sub9ects to "ill any cal%es or any use whatsoe%er5 Only it is to be obser%ed that, in this case, the law is not made about a religious, but a political matter& nor is the sacri ice, but the slaughter o cal%es, thereby prohibited# ((=y this we see what di erence there is between the !hurch and the !ommonwealth# /hatsoe%er is law ul in the !ommonwealth cannot be prohibited by the magistrate in the !hurch# /hatsoe%er is permitted unto any o his sub9ects or their ordinary use, neither can nor ought to be orbidden by him to any sect o people or their religious uses# I any man may law ully ta"e bread or wine, either sitting or "neeling in his own house, the law ought not to abridge him o the same liberty in his religious worship& though in the !hurch the use o bread and wine be %ery di erent and be there applied to the mysteries o aith and rites o Di%ine worship# =ut those things that are

pre9udicial to the commonweal o a people in their ordinary use and are, there ore, orbidden by laws, those things ought not to be permitted to !hurches in their sacred rites# Only the magistrate ought always to be %ery care ul that he do not misuse his authority to the oppression o any !hurch, under pretence o public good# ((It may be said@ */hat i a !hurch be idolatrous, is that also to be tolerated by the magistrate5* I answer@ /hat power can be gi%en to the magistrate or the suppression o an idolatrous !hurch, which may not in time and place be made use o to the ruin o an orthodo' one5 $or it must be remembered that the ci%il power is the same e%erywhere, and the religion o e%ery prince is orthodo' to himsel # I , there ore, such a power be granted unto the ci%il magistrate in spirituals as that at ,ene%a, or e'ample, he may e'tirpate, by %iolence and blood, the religion which is there reputed idolatrous, by the same rule another magistrate, in some neighbouring country, may oppress the re ormed religion and, in India, the !hristian# +he ci%il power can either change e%erything in religion, according to the prince.s pleasure, or it can change nothing# I it be once permitted to introduce anything into religion by the means o laws and penalties, there can be no bounds put to it& but it will in the same manner be law ul to alter e%erything, according to that rule o truth which the magistrate has ramed unto himsel # No man whatsoe%er ought, there ore, to be depri%ed o his terrestrial en9oyments upon account o his religion# Not e%en 6mericans, sub9ected unto a !hristian prince, are to be punished either in body or goods or not embracing our aith and worship# I they are persuaded that they please ,od in obser%ing the rites o their own country and that they shall obtain happiness by that means, they are to be le t unto ,od and themsel%es# )et us trace this matter to the bottom# +hus it is@ 6n inconsiderable and wea" number o !hristians, destitute o e%erything, arri%e in a 3agan country& these oreigners beseech the inhabitants, by the bowels o humanity, that they would succour them with the necessaries o li e& those necessaries are gi%en them, habitations are granted, and they all 9oin together, and grow up into one body o people# +he !hristian religion by this means ta"es root in that country and spreads itsel , but does not suddenly grow the strongest# /hile things are in this condition peace, riendship, aith, and equal 9ustice are preser%ed amongst them# 6t length the magistrate becomes a !hristian, and by that means their party becomes the most power ul# +hen immediately all compacts are to be bro"en, all ci%il rights to be %iolated, that idolatry may be e'tirpated& and unless these innocent 3agans, strict obser%ers o the rules o equity and the law o Nature and no ways o ending against the laws o the society, I say, unless they will orsa"e their ancient religion and embrace a new and strange one, they are to be turned out o the lands and possessions o their ore athers and

perhaps depri%ed o li e itsel # +hen, at last, it appears what 7eal or the !hurch, 9oined with the desire o dominion, is capable to produce, and how easily the pretence o religion, and o the care o souls, ser%es or a cloa" to co%etousness, rapine, and ambition# ((Now whosoe%er maintains that idolatry is to be rooted out o any place by laws, punishments, ire, and sword, may apply this story to himsel # $or the reason o the thing is equal, both in 6merica and Europe# 6nd neither 3agans there, nor any dissenting !hristians here, can, with any right, be depri%ed o their worldly goods by the predominating action o a court(church& nor are any ci%il rights to be either changed or %iolated upon account o religion in one place more than another# ((=ut idolatry, say some, is a sin and there ore not to be tolerated# I they said it were there ore to be a%oided, the in erence were good# =ut it does not ollow that because it is a sin it ought there ore to be punished by the magistrate# $or it does not belong unto the magistrate to ma"e use o his sword in punishing e%erything, indi erently, that he ta"es to be a sin against ,od# !o%etousness, uncharitableness, idleness, and many other things are sins by the consent o men, which yet no man e%er said were to be punished by the magistrate# +he reason is because they are not pre9udicial to other men.s rights, nor do they brea" the public peace o societies# Nay, e%en the sins o lying and per9ury are nowhere punishable by laws& unless, in certain cases, in which the real turpitude o the thing and the o ence against ,od are not considered, but only the in9ury done unto men.s neighbours and to the commonwealth# 6nd what i in another country, to a ?ahometan or a 3agan prince, the !hristian religion seem alse and o ensi%e to ,od& may not the !hristians or the same reason, and a ter the same manner, be e'tirpated there5 ((=ut it may be urged arther that, by the law o ?oses, idolaters were to be rooted out# +rue, indeed, by the law o ?oses& but that is not obligatory to us !hristians# Nobody pretends that e%erything generally en9oined by the law o ?oses ought to be practised by !hristians& but there is nothing more ri%olous than that common distinction o moral, 9udicial, and ceremonial law, which men ordinarily ma"e use o # $or no positi%e law whatsoe%er can oblige any people but those to whom it is gi%en# *Hear, O Israel,* su iciently restrains the obligations o the law o ?oses only to that people# 6nd this consideration alone is answer enough unto those that urge the authority o the law o ?oses or the in licting o capital punishment upon idolaters# =ut, howe%er, I will e'amine this argument a little more particularly#

((+he case o idolaters, in respect o the >ewish commonwealth, alls under a double consideration# +he irst is o those who, being initiated in the ?osaical rites, and made citi7ens o that commonwealth, did a terwards apostatise rom the worship o the ,od o Israel# +hese were proceeded against as traitors and rebels, guilty o no less than high treason# $or the commonwealth o the >ews, di erent in that rom all others, was an absolute theocracy& nor was there, or could there be, any di erence between that commonwealth and the !hurch# +he laws established there concerning the worship o One In%isible Deity were the ci%il laws o that people and a part o their political go%ernment, in which ,od Himsel was the legislator# Now, i any one can shew me where there is a commonwealth at this time, constituted upon that oundation, I will ac"nowledge that the ecclesiastical laws do there una%oidably become a part o the ci%il, and that the sub9ects o that go%ernment both may and ought to be "ept in strict con ormity with that !hurch by the ci%il power# =ut there is absolutely no such thing under the ,ospel as a !hristian commonwealth# +here are, indeed, many cities and "ingdoms that ha%e embraced the aith o !hrist, but they ha%e retained their ancient orm o go%ernment, with which the law o !hrist hath not at all meddled# He, indeed, hath taught men how, by aith and good wor"s, they may obtain eternal li e& but He instituted no commonwealth# He prescribed unto His ollowers no new and peculiar orm o go%ernment, nor put He the sword into any magistrate.s hand, with commission to ma"e use o it in orcing men to orsa"e their ormer religion and recei%e His# ((Secondly, oreigners and such as were strangers to the commonwealth o Israel were not compelled by orce to obser%e the rites o the ?osaical law& but, on the contrary, in the %ery same place where it is ordered that an Israelite that was an idolater should be put to death,- there it is pro%ided that strangers should not be %e'ed nor oppressed# I con ess that the se%en nations that possessed the land which was promised to the Israelites were utterly to be cut o & but this was not singly because they were idolaters# $or i that had been the reason, why were the ?oabites and other nations to be spared5 No@ the reason is this# ,od being in a peculiar manner the Cing o the >ews, He could not su er the adoration o any other deity 0which was properly an act o high treason against Himsel 2 in the land o !anaan, which was His "ingdom# $or such a mani est re%olt could no ways consist with His dominion, which was per ectly political in that country# 6ll idolatry was, there ore, to be rooted out o the bounds o His "ingdom because it was an ac"nowledgment o another god, that is say, another "ing, against the laws o Empire# +he inhabitants were also to be dri%en out, that the entire possession o the land might be gi%en to the Israelites# 6nd or the li"e reason the Emims and the Horims were dri%en out o their countries by the children o Esau and )ot& and their lands, upon the same

grounds, gi%en by ,od to the in%aders#-012 =ut, though all idolatry was thus rooted out o the land o !anaan, yet e%ery idolater was not brought to e'ecution# +he whole amily o Rahab, the whole nation o the ,ibeonites, articled with >oshua, and were allowed by treaty& and there were many capti%es amongst the >ews who were idolaters# Da%id and Solomon subdued many countries without the con ines o the )and o 3romise and carried their conquests as ar as Euphrates# 6mongst so many capti%es ta"en, so many nations reduced under their obedience, we ind not one man orced into the >ewish religion and the worship o the true ,od and punished or idolatry, though all o them were certainly guilty o it# I any one, indeed, becoming a proselyte, desired to be made a deni7en o their commonwealth, he was obliged to submit to their laws& that is, to embrace their religion# =ut this he did willingly, on his own accord, not by constraint# He did not unwillingly submit, to show his obedience, but he sought and solicited or it as a pri%ilege# 6nd, as soon as he was admitted, he became sub9ect to the laws o the commonwealth, by which all idolatry was orbidden within the borders o the land o !anaan# =ut that law 0as I ha%e said2 did not reach to any o those regions, howe%er sub9ected unto the >ews, that were situated without those bounds# (- E'od# 11, 1B, 1;# (-012 Deut# 1# ((+hus ar concerning outward worship# )et us now consider articles o aith# ((+he articles o religion are some o them practical and some speculati%e# Now, though both sorts consist in the "nowledge o truth, yet these terminate simply in the understanding, those in luence the will and manners# Speculati%e opinions, there ore, and articles o aith 0as they are called2 which are required only to be belie%ed, cannot be imposed on any !hurch by the law o the land# $or it is absurd that things should be en9oined by laws which are not in men.s power to per orm# 6nd to belie%e this or that to be true does not depend upon our will# =ut o this enough has been said already# *=ut#* will some say& *let men at least pro ess that they belie%e#* 6 sweet religion, indeed, that obliges men to dissemble and tell lies, both to ,od and man, or the sal%ation o their soulsD I the magistrate thin"s to sa%e men thus, he seems to understand little o the way o sal%ation# 6nd i he does it not in order to sa%e them, why is he so solicitous about the articles o aith as to enact them by a law5 (($urther, the magistrate ought not to orbid the preaching or pro essing o any speculati%e opinions in any !hurch because they ha%e no manner o relation to the ci%il rights o the sub9ects# I a Roman !atholic belie%e that to be really the

body o !hrist which another man calls bread, he does no in9ury thereby to his neighbour# I a >ew do not belie%e the New +estament to be the /ord o ,od, he does not thereby alter anything in men.s ci%il rights# I a heathen doubt o both +estaments, he is not there ore to be punished as a pernicious citi7en# +he power o the magistrate and the estates o the people may be equally secure whether any man belie%e these things or no# I readily grant that these opinions are alse and absurd# =ut the business o laws is not to pro%ide or the truth o opinions, but or the sa ety and security o the commonwealth and o e%ery particular man.s goods and person# 6nd so it ought to be# $or the truth certainly would do well enough i she were once le t to shi t or hersel # She seldom has recei%ed and, I ear, ne%er will recei%e much assistance rom the power o great men, to whom she is but rarely "nown and more rarely welcome# She is not taught by laws, nor has she any need o orce to procure her entrance into the minds o men# Errors, indeed, pre%ail by the assistance o oreign and borrowed succours# =ut i +ruth ma"es not her way into the understanding by her own light, she will be but the wea"er or any borrowed orce %iolence can add to her# +hus much or speculati%e opinions# )et us now proceed to practical ones# ((6 good li e, in which consist not the least part o religion and true piety, concerns also the ci%il go%ernment& and in it lies the sa ety both o men.s souls and o the commonwealth# ?oral actions belong, there ore, to the 9urisdiction both o the outward and inward court& both o the ci%il and domestic go%ernor& I mean both o the magistrate and conscience# Here, there ore, is great danger, lest one o these 9urisdictions intrench upon the other, and discord arise between the "eeper o the public peace and the o%erseers o souls# =ut i what has been already said concerning the limits o both these go%ernments be rightly considered, it will easily remo%e all di iculty in this matter# ((E%ery man has an immortal soul, capable o eternal happiness or misery& whose happiness depending upon his belie%ing and doing those things in this li e which are necessary to the obtaining o ,od.s a%our, and are prescribed by ,od to that end# It ollows rom thence, irst, that the obser%ance o these things is the highest obligation that lies upon man"ind and that our utmost care, application, and diligence ought to be e'ercised in the search and per ormance o them& because there is nothing in this world that is o any consideration in comparison with eternity# Secondly, that seeing one man does not %iolate the right o another by his erroneous opinions and undue manner o worship, nor is his perdition any pre9udice to another man.s a airs, there ore, the care o each man.s sal%ation belongs only to himsel # =ut I would not ha%e this understood as i I meant hereby to condemn all charitable admonitions and a ectionate endea%ours to reduce men rom errors, which are indeed the greatest duty o a

!hristian# 6ny one may employ as many e'hortations and arguments as he pleases, towards the promoting o another man.s sal%ation# =ut all orce and compulsion are to be orborne# Nothing is to be done imperiously# Nobody is obliged in that matter to yield obedience unto the admonitions or in9unctions o another, urther than he himsel is persuaded# E%ery man in that has the supreme and absolute authority o 9udging or himsel # 6nd the reason is because nobody else is concerned in it, nor can recei%e any pre9udice rom his conduct therein# ((=ut besides their souls, which are immortal, men ha%e also their temporal li%es here upon earth& the state whereo being rail and leeting, and the duration uncertain, they ha%e need o se%eral outward con%eniences to the support thereo , which are to be procured or preser%ed by pains and industry# $or those things that are necessary to the com ortable support o our li%es are not the spontaneous products o nature, nor do o er themsel%es it and prepared or our use# +his part, there ore, draws on another care and necessarily gi%es another employment# =ut the pra%ity o man"ind being such that they had rather in9uriously prey upon the ruits o other men.s labours than ta"e pains to pro%ide or themsel%es, the necessity o preser%ing men in the possession o what honest industry has already acquired and also o preser%ing their liberty and strength, whereby they may acquire what they arther want, obliges men to enter into society with one another, that by mutual assistance and 9oint orce they may secure unto each other their properties, in the things that contribute to the com ort and happiness o this li e, lea%ing in the meanwhile to e%ery man the care o his own eternal happiness, the attainment whereo can neither be acilitated by another man.s industry, nor can the loss o it turn to another man.s pre9udice, nor the hope o it be orced rom him by any e'ternal %iolence# =ut, orasmuch as men thus entering into societies, grounded upon their mutual compacts o assistance or the de ence o their temporal goods, may, ne%ertheless, be depri%ed o them, either by the rapine and raud o their ellow citi7ens, or by the hostile %iolence o oreigners, the remedy o this e%il consists in arms, riches, and multitude o citi7ens& the remedy o the other in laws& and the care o all things relating both to one and the other is committed by the society to the ci%il magistrate# +his is the original, this is the use, and these are the bounds o the legislati%e 0which is the supreme2 power in e%ery commonwealth# I mean that pro%ision may be made or the security o each man.s pri%ate possessions& or the peace, riches, and public commodities o the whole people& and, as much as possible, or the increase o their inward strength against oreign in%asions#

((+hese things being thus e'plained, it is easy to understand to what end the legislati%e power ought to be directed and by what measures regulated& and that is the temporal good and outward prosperity o the society& which is the sole reason o men.s entering into society, and the only thing they see" and aim at in it# 6nd it is also e%ident what liberty remains to men in re erence to their eternal sal%ation, and that is that e%ery one should do what he in his conscience is persuaded to be acceptable to the 6lmighty, on whose good pleasure and acceptance depends their eternal happiness# $or obedience is due, in the irst place, to ,od and, a terwards to the laws# ((=ut some may as"@ */hat i the magistrate should en9oin anything by his authority that appears unlaw ul to the conscience o a pri%ate person5* I answer that, i go%ernment be aith ully administered and the counsels o the magistrates be indeed directed to the public good, this will seldom happen# =ut i , perhaps, it do so all out, I say, that such a pri%ate person is to abstain rom the action that he 9udges unlaw ul, and he is to undergo the punishment which it is not unlaw ul or him to bear# $or the pri%ate 9udgement o any person concerning a law enacted in political matters, or the public good, does not ta"e away the obligation o that law, nor deser%e a dispensation# =ut i the law, indeed, be concerning things that lie not within the %erge o the magistrate.s authority 0as, or e'ample, that the people, or any party amongst them, should be compelled to embrace a strange religion, and 9oin in the worship and ceremonies o another !hurch2, men are not in these cases obliged by that law, against their consciences# $or the political society is instituted or no other end, but only to secure e%ery man.s possession o the things o this li e# +he care o each man.s soul and o the things o hea%en, which neither does belong to the commonwealth nor can be sub9ected to it, is le t entirely to e%ery man.s sel # +hus the sa eguard o men.s li%es and o the things that belong unto this li e is the business o the commonwealth& and the preser%ing o those things unto their owners is the duty o the magistrate# 6nd there ore the magistrate cannot ta"e away these worldly things rom this man or party and gi%e them to that& nor change propriety amongst ellow sub9ects 0no not e%en by a law2, or a cause that has no relation to the end o ci%il go%ernment, I mean or their religion, which whether it be true or alse does no pre9udice to the worldly concerns o their ellow sub9ects, which are the things that only belong unto the care o the commonwealth# ((=ut what i the magistrate belie%e such a law as this to be or the public good5 I answer@ 6s the pri%ate 9udgement o any particular person, i erroneous, does not e'empt him rom the obligation o law, so the pri%ate 9udgement 0as I may call it2 o the magistrate does not gi%e him any new right o imposing laws

upon his sub9ects, which neither was in the constitution o the go%ernment granted him, nor e%er was in the power o the people to grant, much less i he ma"e it his business to enrich and ad%ance his ollowers and ellow(sectaries with the spoils o others# =ut what i the magistrate belie%e that he has a right to ma"e such laws and that they are or the public good, and his sub9ects belie%e the contrary5 /ho shall be 9udge between them5 I answer@ ,od alone# $or there is no 9udge upon earth between the supreme magistrate and the people# ,od, I say, is the only 9udge in this case, who will retribute unto e%ery one at the last day according to his deserts& that is, according to his sincerity and uprightness in endea%ouring to promote piety, and the public weal, and peace o man"ind# =ut /hat shall be done in the meanwhile5 I answer@ +he principal and chie care o e%ery one ought to be o his own soul irst, and, in the ne't place, o the public peace& though yet there are %ery ew will thin" it is peace there, where they see all laid waste# ((+here are two sorts o contests amongst men, the one managed by law, the other by orce& and these are o that nature that where the one ends, the other always begins# =ut it is not my business to inquire into the power o the magistrate in the di erent constitutions o nations# I only "now what usually happens where contro%ersies arise without a 9udge to determine them# Fou will say, then, the magistrate being the stronger will ha%e his will and carry his point# /ithout doubt& but the question is not here concerning the doubt ulness o the e%ent, but the rule o right# ((=ut to come to particulars# I say, irst, no opinions contrary to human society, or to those moral rules which are necessary to the preser%ation o ci%il society, are to be tolerated by the magistrate# =ut o these, indeed, e'amples in any !hurch are rare# $or no sect can easily arri%e to such a degree o madness as that it should thin" it to teach, or doctrines o religion, such things as mani estly undermine the oundations o society and are, there ore, condemned by the 9udgement o all man"ind& because their own interest, peace, reputation, e%erything would be thereby endangered# ((6nother more secret e%il, but more dangerous to the commonwealth, is when men arrogate to themsel%es, and to those o their own sect, some peculiar prerogati%e co%ered o%er with a specious show o deceit ul words, but in e ect opposite to the ci%il right o the community# $or e'ample@ we cannot ind any sect that teaches, e'pressly and openly, that men are not obliged to "eep their promise& that princes may be dethroned by those that di er rom them in religion& or that the dominion o all things belongs only to themsel%es# $or these things, proposed thus na"edly and plainly, would soon draw on them the

eye and hand o the magistrate and awa"en all the care o the commonwealth to a watch ulness against the spreading o so dangerous an e%il# =ut, ne%ertheless, we ind those that say the same things in other words# /hat else do they mean who teach that aith is not to be "ept with heretics5 +heir meaning, orsooth, is that the pri%ilege o brea"ing aith belongs unto themsel%es& or they declare all that are not o their communion to be heretics, or at least may declare them so whensoe%er they thin" it# /hat can be the meaning o their asserting that "ings e'communicated or eit their crowns and "ingdoms5 It is e%ident that they thereby arrogate unto themsel%es the power o deposing "ings, because they challenge the power o e'communication, as the peculiar right o their hierarchy# +hat dominion is ounded in grace is also an assertion by which those that maintain it do plainly lay claim to the possession o all things# $or they are not so wanting to themsel%es as not to belie%e, or at least as not to pro ess themsel%es to be the truly pious and aith ul# +hese, there ore, and the li"e, who attribute unto the aith ul, religious, and orthodo', that is, in plain terms, unto themsel%es, any peculiar pri%ilege or power abo%e other mortals, in ci%il concernments& or who upon pretence o religion do challenge any manner o authority o%er such as are not associated with them in their ecclesiastical communion, I say these ha%e no right to be tolerated by the magistrate& as neither those that will not own and teach the duty o tolerating all men in matters o mere religion# $or what do all these and the li"e doctrines signi y, but that they may and are ready upon any occasion to sei7e the ,o%ernment and possess themsel%es o the estates and ortunes o their ellow sub9ects& and that they only as" lea%e to be tolerated by the magistrate so long until they ind themsel%es strong enough to e ect it5 ((6gain@ +hat !hurch can ha%e no right to be tolerated by the magistrate which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those who enter into it do thereby ipso acto deli%er themsel%es up to the protection and ser%ice o another prince# $or by this means the magistrate would gi%e way to the settling o a oreign 9urisdiction in his own country and su er his own people to be listed, as it were, or soldiers against his own ,o%ernment# Nor does the ri%olous and allacious distinction between the !ourt and the !hurch a ord any remedy to this incon%enience& especially when both the one and the other are equally sub9ect to the absolute authority o the same person, who has not only power to persuade the members o his !hurch to whatsoe%er he lists, either as purely religious, or in order thereunto, but can also en9oin it them on pain o eternal ire# It is ridiculous or any one to pro ess himsel to be a ?ahometan only in his religion, but in e%erything else a aith ul sub9ect to a !hristian magistrate, whilst at the same time he ac"nowledges himsel bound to yield blind obedience to the ?u ti o !onstantinople, who himsel is entirely obedient to

the Ottoman Emperor and rames the eigned oracles o that religion according to his pleasure# =ut this ?ahometan li%ing amongst !hristians would yet more apparently renounce their go%ernment i he ac"nowledged the same person to be head o his !hurch who is the supreme magistrate in the state# (()astly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being o a ,od# 3romises, co%enants, and oaths, which are the bonds o human society, can ha%e no hold upon an atheist# +he ta"ing away o ,od, though but e%en in thought, dissol%es all& besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can ha%e no pretence o religion whereupon to challenge the pri%ilege o a toleration# 6s or other practical opinions, though not absolutely ree rom all error, i they do not tend to establish domination o%er others, or ci%il impunity to the !hurch in which they are taught, there can be no reason why they should not be tolerated# ((It remains that I say something concerning those assemblies which, being %ulgarly called and perhaps ha%ing sometimes been con%enticles and nurseries o actions and seditions, are thought to a ord against this doctrine o toleration# =ut this has not happened by anything peculiar unto the genius o such assemblies, but by the unhappy circumstances o an oppressed or ill( settled liberty# +hese accusations would soon cease i the law o toleration were once so settled that all !hurches were obliged to lay down toleration as the oundation o their own liberty, and teach that liberty o conscience is e%ery man.s natural right, equally belonging to dissenters as to themsel%es& and that nobody ought to be compelled in matters o religion either by law or orce# +he establishment o this one thing would ta"e away all ground o complaints and tumults upon account o conscience& and these causes o discontents and animosities being once remo%ed, there would remain nothing in these assemblies that were not more peaceable and less apt to produce disturbance o state than in any other meetings whatsoe%er# =ut let us e'amine particularly the heads o these accusations# ((Fou will say that assemblies and meetings endanger the public peace and threaten the commonwealth# I answer@ I this be so, why are there daily such numerous meetings in mar"ets and !ourts o >udicature5 /hy are crowds upon the E'change and a concourse o people in cities su ered5 Fou will reply@ *+hose are ci%il assemblies, but these we ob9ect against are ecclesiastical#* I answer@ It is a li"ely thing, indeed, that such assemblies as are altogether remote rom ci%il a airs should be most apt to embroil them# Oh, but ci%il assemblies are composed o men that di er rom one another in matters o religion, but these ecclesiastical meetings are o persons that are all o one

opinion# 6s i an agreement in matters o religion were in e ect a conspiracy against the commonwealth& or as i men would not be so much the more warmly unanimous in religion the less liberty they had o assembling# =ut it will be urged still that ci%il assemblies are open and ree or any one to enter into, whereas religious con%enticles are more pri%ate and thereby gi%e opportunity to clandestine machinations# I answer that this is not strictly true, or many ci%il assemblies are not open to e%eryone# 6nd i some religious meetings be pri%ate, who are they 0I beseech you2 that are to be blamed or it, those that desire, or those that orbid their being publicD 6gain, you will say that religious communion does e'ceedingly unite men.s minds and a ections to one another and is there ore the more dangerous# =ut i this be so, why is not the magistrate a raid o his own !hurch& and why does he not orbid their assemblies as things dangerous to his ,o%ernment5 Fou will say because he himsel is a part and e%en the head o them# 6s i he were not also a part o the commonwealth, and the head o the whole peopleD (()et us there ore deal plainly# +he magistrate is a raid o other !hurches, but not o his own, because he is "ind and a%ourable to the one, but se%ere and cruel to the other# +hese he treats li"e children, and indulges them e%en to wantonness# +hose he uses as sla%es and, how blamelessly soe%er they demean themsel%es, recompenses them no otherwise than by galleys, prisons, con iscations, and death# +hese he cherishes and de ends& those he continually scourges and oppresses# )et him turn the tables# Or let those dissenters en9oy but the same pri%ileges in ci%ils as his other sub9ects, and he will quic"ly ind that these religious meetings will be no longer dangerous# $or i men enter into seditious conspiracies, it is not religion inspires them to it in their meetings, but their su erings and oppressions that ma"e them willing to ease themsel%es# >ust and moderate go%ernments are e%erywhere quiet, e%erywhere sa e& but oppression raises erments and ma"es men struggle to cast o an uneasy and tyrannical yo"e# I "now that seditions are %ery requently raised upon pretence o religion, but it is as true that or religion sub9ects are requently ill treated and li%e miserably# =elie%e me, the stirs that are made proceed not rom any peculiar temper o this or that !hurch or religious society, but rom the common disposition o all man"ind, who when they groan under any hea%y burthen endea%our naturally to sha"e o the yo"e that galls their nec"s# Suppose this business o religion were let alone, and that there were some other distinction made between men and men upon account o their di erent comple'ions, shapes, and eatures, so that those who ha%e blac" hair 0 or e'ample2 or grey eyes should not en9oy the same pri%ileges as other citi7ens& that they should not be permitted either to buy or sell, or li%e by their callings& that parents should not ha%e the go%ernment and education o their own

children& that all should either be e'cluded rom the bene it o the laws, or meet with partial 9udges& can it be doubted but these persons, thus distinguished rom others by the colour o their hair and eyes, and united together by one common persecution, would be as dangerous to the magistrate as any others that had associated themsel%es merely upon the account o religion5 Some enter into company or trade and pro it, others or want o business ha%e their clubs or claret# Neighbourhood 9oins some and religion others# =ut there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotions, and that is oppression# ((Fou will say */hat, will you ha%e people to meet at di%ine ser%ice against the magistrate.s will5* I answer@ /hy, I pray, against his will5 Is it not both law ul and necessary that they should meet5 6gainst his will, do you say5 +hat is what I complain o & that is the %ery root o all the mischie # /hy are assemblies less su erable in a church than in a theatre or mar"et5 +hose that meet there are not either more %icious or more turbulent than those that meet elsewhere# +he business in that is that they are ill used, and there ore they are not to be su ered# +a"e away the partiality that is used towards them in matters o common right& change the laws, ta"e away the penalties unto which they are sub9ected, and all things will immediately become sa e and peaceable& nay, those that are a%erse to the religion o the magistrate will thin" themsel%es so much the more bound to maintain the peace o the commonwealth as their condition is better in that place than elsewhere& and all the se%eral separate congregations, li"e so many guardians o the public peace, will watch one another, that nothing may be inno%ated or changed in the orm o the go%ernment, because they can hope or nothing better than what they already en9oy( that is, an equal condition with their ellow(sub9ects under a 9ust and moderate go%ernment# Now i that !hurch which agrees in religion with the prince be esteemed the chie support o any ci%il go%ernment, and that or no other reason 0as has already been shown2 than because the prince is "ind and the laws are a%ourable to it, how much greater will be the security o go%ernment where all good sub9ects, o whatsoe%er !hurch they be, without any distinction upon account o religion, en9oying the same a%our o the prince and the same bene it o the laws, shall become the common support and guard o it, and where none will ha%e any occasion to ear the se%erity o the laws but those that do in9uries to their neighbours and o end against the ci%il peace5 ((+hat we may draw towards a conclusion# +he sum o all we dri%e at is that e%ery man may en9oy the same rights that are granted to others# Is it permitted to worship ,od in the Roman manner5 )et it be permitted to do it in the ,ene%a orm also# Is it permitted to spea" )atin in the mar"et(place5 )et those that ha%e a mind to it be permitted to do it also in the !hurch# Is it law ul or

any man in his own house to "neel, stand, sit, or use any other posture& and to clothe himsel in white or blac", in short or in long garments5 )et it not be made unlaw ul to eat bread, drin" wine, or wash with water in the church# In a word, whatsoe%er things are le t ree by law in the common occasions o li e, let them remain ree unto e%ery !hurch in di%ine worship# )et no man.s li e, or body, or house, or estate, su er any manner o pre9udice upon these accounts# !an you allow o the 3resbyterian discipline5 /hy should not the Episcopal also ha%e what they li"e5 Ecclesiastical authority, whether it be administered by the hands o a single person or many, is e%erywhere the same& and neither has any 9urisdiction in things ci%il, nor any manner o power o compulsion, nor anything at all to do with riches and re%enues# ((Ecclesiastical assemblies and sermons are 9usti ied by daily e'perience and public allowance# +hese are allowed to people o some one persuasion& why not to all5 I anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, it is to be punished in the same manner and no otherwise than as i it had happened in a air or mar"et# +hese meetings ought not to be sanctuaries or actious and lagitious ellows# Nor ought it to be less law ul or men to meet in churches than in halls& nor are one part o the sub9ects to be esteemed more blamable or their meeting together than others# E%ery one is to be accountable or his own actions, and no man is to be laid under a suspicion or odium or the ault o another# +hose that are seditious, murderers, thie%es, robbers, adulterers, slanderers, etc#, o whatsoe%er !hurch, whether national or not, ought to be punished and suppressed# =ut those whose doctrine is peaceable and whose manners are pure and blameless ought to be upon equal terms with their ellow(sub9ects# +hus i solemn assemblies, obser%ations o esti%als, public worship be permitted to any one sort o pro essors, all these things ought to be permitted to the 3resbyterians, Independents, 6nabaptists, 6rminians, Gua"ers, and others, with the same liberty# Nay, i we may openly spea" the truth, and as becomes one man to another, neither 3agan nor ?ahometan, nor >ew, ought to be e'cluded rom the ci%il rights o the commonwealth because o his religion# +he ,ospel commands no such thing# +he !hurch which *9udgeth not those that are without*- wants it not# 6nd the commonwealth, which embraces indi erently all men that are honest, peaceable, and industrious, requires it not# Shall we su er a 3agan to deal and trade with us, and shall we not su er him to pray unto and worship ,od5 I we allow the >ews to ha%e pri%ate houses and dwellings amongst us, why should we not allow them to ha%e synagogues5 Is their doctrine more alse, their worship more abominable, or is the ci%il peace more endangered by their meeting in public than in their pri%ate houses5 =ut i these things may be

granted to >ews and 3agans, surely the condition o any !hristians ought not to be worse than theirs in a !hristian commonwealth# (- I !or# :# ;1, ;4# ((Fou will say, perhaps@ *Fes, it ought to be& because they are more inclinable to actions, tumults, and ci%il wars#* I answer@ Is this the ault o the !hristian religion5 I it be so, truly the !hristian religion is the worst o all religions and ought neither to be embraced by any particular person, nor tolerated by any commonwealth# $or i this be the genius, this the nature o the !hristian religion, to be turbulent and destructi%e to the ci%il peace, that !hurch itsel which the magistrate indulges will not always be innocent# =ut ar be it rom us to say any such thing o that religion which carries the greatest opposition to co%etousness, ambition, discord, contention, and all manner o inordinate desires, and is the most modest and peaceable religion that e%er was# /e must, there ore, see" another cause o those e%ils that are charged upon religion# 6nd, i we consider right, we shall ind it to consist wholly in the sub9ect that I am treating o # It is not the di%ersity o opinions 0which cannot be a%oided2, but the re usal o toleration to those that are o di erent opinions 0which might ha%e been granted2, that has produced all the bustles and wars that ha%e been in the !hristian world upon account o religion# +he heads and leaders o the !hurch, mo%ed by a%arice and insatiable desire o dominion, ma"ing use o the immoderate ambition o magistrates and the credulous superstition o the giddy multitude, ha%e incensed and animated them against those that dissent rom themsel%es, by preaching unto them, contrary to the laws o the ,ospel and to the precepts o charity, that schismatics and heretics are to be outed o their possessions and destroyed# 6nd thus ha%e they mi'ed together and con ounded two things that are in themsel%es most di erent, the !hurch and the commonwealth# Now as it is %ery di icult or men patiently to su er themsel%es to be stripped o the goods which they ha%e got by their honest industry, and, contrary to all the laws o equity, both human and di%ine, to be deli%ered up or a prey to other men.s %iolence and rapine& especially when they are otherwise altogether blameless& and that the occasion or which they are thus treated does not at all belong to the 9urisdiction o the magistrate, but entirely to the conscience o e%ery particular man or the conduct o which he is accountable to ,od only& what else can be e'pected but that these men, growing weary o the e%ils under which they labour, should in the end thin" it law ul or them to resist orce with orce, and to de end their natural rights 0which are not or eitable upon account o religion2 with arms as well as they can5 +hat this has been hitherto the ordinary course o things is abundantly e%ident in history, and that it will continue to be so herea ter is but too apparent

in reason# It cannot indeed, be otherwise so long as the principle o persecution or religion shall pre%ail, as it has done hitherto, with magistrate and people, and so long as those that ought to be the preachers o peace and concord shall continue with all their art and strength to e'cite men to arms and sound the trumpet o war# =ut that magistrates should thus su er these incendiaries and disturbers o the public peace might 9ustly be wondered at i it did not appear that they ha%e been in%ited by them unto a participation o the spoil, and ha%e there ore thought it to ma"e use o their co%etousness and pride as means whereby to increase their own power# $or who does not see that these good men are, indeed, more ministers o the go%ernment than ministers o the ,ospel and that, by lattering the ambition and a%ouring the dominion o princes and men in authority, they endea%our with all their might to promote that tyranny in the commonwealth which otherwise they should not be able to establish in the !hurch5 +his is the unhappy agreement that we see between the !hurch and State# /hereas i each o them would contain itsel within its own bounds( the one attending to the worldly wel are o the commonwealth, the other to the sal%ation o souls( it is impossible that any discord should e%er ha%e happened between them# Sed pudet hoec opprobria# etc# ,od 6lmighty grant, I beseech Him, that the gospel o peace may at length be preached, and that ci%il magistrates, growing more care ul to con orm their own consciences to the law o ,od and less solicitous about the binding o other men.s consciences by human laws, may, li"e athers o their country, direct all their counsels and endea%ours to promote uni%ersally the ci%il wel are o all their children, e'cept only o such as are arrogant, ungo%ernable, and in9urious to their brethren& and that all ecclesiastical men, who boast themsel%es to be the successors o the 6postles, wal"ing peaceably and modestly in the 6postles. steps, without intermeddling with State 6 airs, may apply themsel%es wholly to promote the sal%ation o souls#
(((( $6RE/E))#

((3ERH63S it may not be amiss to add a ew things concerning heresy and schism# 6 +ur" is not, nor can be, either heretic or schismatic to a !hristian& and i any man all o rom the !hristian aith to ?ahometism, he does not thereby become a heretic or schismatic, but an apostate and an in idel# +his nobody doubts o & and by this it appears that men o di erent religions cannot be heretics or schismatics to one another#

((/e are to inquire, there ore, what men are o the same religion# !oncerning which it is mani est that those who ha%e one and the same rule o aith and worship are o the same religion& and those who ha%e not the same rule o aith and worship are o di erent religions# $or since all things that belong unto that religion are contained in that rule, it ollows necessarily that those who agree in one rule are o one and the same religion, and %ice %ersa# +hus +ur"s and !hristians are o di erent religions, because these ta"e the Holy Scriptures to be the rule o their religion, and those the 6lcoran# 6nd or the same reason there may be di erent religions also e%en amongst !hristians# +he 3apists and )utherans, though both o them pro ess aith in !hrist and are there ore called !hristians, yet are not both o the same religion, because these ac"nowledge nothing but the Holy Scriptures to be the rule and oundation o their religion, those ta"e in also traditions and the decrees o 3opes and o these together ma"e the rule o their religion& and thus the !hristians o St# >ohn 0as they are called2 and the !hristians o ,ene%a are o di erent religions, because these also ta"e only the Scriptures, and those I "now not what traditions, or the rule o their religion# ((+his being settled, it ollows, irst, that heresy is a separation made in ecclesiastical communion between men o the same religion or some opinions no way contained in the rule itsel & and, secondly, that amongst those who ac"nowledge nothing but the Holy Scriptures to be their rule o aith, heresy is a separation made in their !hristian communion or opinions not contained in the e'press words o Scripture# Now this separation may be made in a two old manner@ ((;# /hen the greater part, or by the magistrate.s patronage the stronger part, o the !hurch separates itsel rom others by e'cluding them out o her communion because they will not pro ess their belie o certain opinions which are not the e'press words o the Scripture# $or it is not the paucity o those that are separated, nor the authority o the magistrate, that can ma"e any man guilty o heresy, but he only is a heretic who di%ides the !hurch into parts, introduces names and mar"s o distinction, and %oluntarily ma"es a separation because o such opinions# ((1# /hen any one separates himsel rom the communion o a !hurch because that !hurch does not publicly pro ess some certain opinions which the Holy Scriptures do not e'pressly teach# ((=oth these are heretics because they err in undamentals, and they err obstinately against "nowledge& or when they ha%e determined the Holy Scriptures to be the only oundation o aith, they ne%ertheless lay down certain

propositions as undamental which are not in the Scripture, and because others will not ac"nowledge these additional opinions o theirs, nor build upon them as i they were necessary and undamental, they there ore ma"e a separation in the !hurch, either by withdrawing themsel%es rom others, or e'pelling the others rom them# Nor does it signi y anything or them to say that their con essions and symbols are agreeable to Scripture and to the analogy o aith& or i they be concei%ed in the e'press words o Scripture, there can be no question about them, because those things are ac"nowledged by all !hristians to be o di%ine inspiration and there ore undamental# =ut i they say that the articles which they require to be pro essed are consequences deduced rom the Scripture, it is undoubtedly well done o them who belie%e and pro ess such things as seem unto them so agreeable to the rule o aith# =ut it would be %ery ill done to obtrude those things upon others unto whom they do not seem to be the indubitable doctrines o the Scripture& and to ma"e a separation or such things as these, which neither are nor can be undamental, is to become heretics& or I do not thin" there is any man arri%ed to that degree o madness as that he dare gi%e out his consequences and interpretations o Scripture as di%ine inspirations and compare the articles o aith that he has ramed according to his own ancy with the authority o Scripture# I "now there are some propositions so e%idently agreeable to Scripture that nobody can deny them to be drawn rom thence, but about those, there ore, there can be no di erence# +his only I say( that howe%er clearly we may thin" this or the other doctrine to be deduced rom Scripture, we ought not there ore to impose it upon others as a necessary article o aith because we belie%e it to be agreeable to the rule o aith, unless we would be content also that other doctrines should be imposed upon us in the same manner, and that we should be compelled to recei%e and pro ess all the di erent and contradictory opinions o )utherans, !al%inists, Remonstrants, 6nabaptists, and other sects which the contri%ers o symbols, systems, and con essions are accustomed to deli%er to their ollowers as genuine and necessary deductions rom the Holy Scripture# I cannot but wonder at the e'tra%agant arrogance o those men who thin" that they themsel%es can e'plain things necessary to sal%ation more clearly than the Holy ,host, the eternal and in inite wisdom o ,od# ((+hus much concerning heresy, which word in common use is applied only to the doctrinal part o religion# )et us now consider schism, which is a crime near a"in to it& or both these words seem unto me to signi y an ill(grounded separation in ecclesiastical communion made about things not necessary# =ut since use, which is the supreme law in matter o language, has determined that heresy relates to errors in aith, and schism to those in worship or discipline, we must consider them under that distinction#

((Schism, then, or the same reasons that ha%e already been alleged, is nothing else but a separation made in the communion o the !hurch upon account o something in di%ine worship or ecclesiastical discipline that is not any necessary part o it# Now, nothing in worship or discipline can be necessary to !hristian communion but what !hrist our legislator, or the 6postles by inspiration o the Holy Spirit, ha%e commanded in e'press words# ((In a word, he that denies not anything that the Holy Scriptures teach in e'press words, nor ma"es a separation upon occasion o anything that is not mani estly contained in the sacred te't( howe%er he may be nic"named by any sect o !hristians and declared by some or all o them to be utterly %oid o true !hristianity( yet in deed and in truth this man cannot be either a heretic or schismatic# ((+hese things might ha%e been e'plained more largely and more ad%antageously, but it is enough to ha%e hinted at them thus brie ly to a person o your parts#

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