9. Because, to force, is inconsistent with the Belief of the Jews Conversion (and other false worshippers) which is prayed for by the Publick Teachers, and cannot be attained, if Persecution for Conscience be prosecuted.
Comment: The thrust of this argument seems to be as follows: You pray for actual conversion (such as prayer for the Jews to be converted). Yet, by forcing conscience you are not obtaining conversion (which is what you claim) but rather sin (which is what you should avoid). Thus, your conduct contradicts your prayers.
10. Because, they that impose upon men’s Consciences, exercise Dominion over men’s Faith, which the Apostles denied, saying, they had not Dominion over any men’s Faith.
Comment: This is based upon a passage from Paul in his second letter to Corinth: 2 Corinthians 1:24 (AV) “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” The argument thus runs,
You do not have more authority in ecclesiastical matters than Paul.
Paul did not “lord over” the faith of others.
Therefore, you may not lord over the faith of others.
Again the argument is that you are being the hypocrite in your supposed effort to be a good Christin.
11. Because, Imposition upon mens Consciences necessitates them to sin, in yeelding a Conformity contrary to their own faith: for whatsoever is not of a mans own faith, is sin.
Comment: This is from Paul’s letter to the Romans: Romans 14:23 (AV) “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Paul was writing about those who believed that eating meat would be a sin. Since the matter was an issue upon which there could be a difference of conscience, forcing the conscience of another man would be force that man to sin.
The response to this argument would be, Yes, but you hold opinions upon which there may be no difference of opinion.
12. Because, that Imposition and force wrestles with flesh and blood, and Carnal weapons, which is contrary to the Apostles Doctrine, who said, Our Weapons are not Carnal, but Spiritual, and mighty through God: and we wrestle not with flesh and bloud.
Comment: This argument draws on two separate passages from Paul. The first is from 2 Corinthians 10. In this passage, Paul explains that the resistance to his gospel is ultimately not a matter of other human beings but of spiritual conflict: it is a battle of spiritual matters, a battle of ideas, not a battle of “flesh and blood”:
2 Corinthians 10:1–6 (AV)
1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
The second passage is from Ephesians 6 and concerns “spiritual warfare”:
Ephesians 6:10–12 (AV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces.
The argument is thus, you claim to be concerned with a spiritual conflict, a spiritual matter. If this is so, then you are to use “spiritual weapons” (truth, faith, peace, et cetera).
Now the Court of Charles II was remarkably debauched. The concern was not with true piety but rather political expedience.