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the term [he] because when the Jews put the question to him, Who art thou? his answer was, even the fame that Isaid unto you, from the beginning.

So then, the meaning of the whole sentence, I think, appears to be this, ii%. you wicked Jews, who tho' you pretend to be worshippers, and servants of the true God, yet live in a constant violation of his Laws; if you do not give your ajfml to this truth, (upon that rational evidence which hath been afforded for your conviction) that I am the Messiah or Christ, which God hath sent into the world, to offer terms of peace and reconciliation to mankind; and if you do not accept of God's grace, on those terms on which he offers it to you by my ministry, in turning every one of you from the evil of your ways, and by bringing forth the fruits of newness of lise, ye shall die under the guilt of your fins, without having any share in the mercy of God, which is now graciously offered to mankind: and on the other fide, if you do believe that I am the Christ, the Son, and sent of God, and if you do accept of his gracious offer, by yielding up yourselves a lively sacrifice acceptable, and well pleasing in his sight, ye shall be saved.

Thus we see, what is the true christian faith, with relation to the Person, and the personal character of pur Lord Jesus Christ, as we have it from his own mouth, which surely must be our best guide, with respect to the present question. So that, we are not required to believe any thing concerning his nature or essence, much less that he is the supreme God, or equal to him ; but only that he is the Messiah or Christ, the Son, and sent os God, and that the good news is true, which he is the messenger of: consequently, whoever believes in him as such, and submits to his government, and is faithful unto death, such an one is a true christian, whom Christ will own and approve, when he shall come *r> iudo-e

eke vorW. TRACT

A N

ENQUIRY

Concerning PROPERTY, wherein is

considered Liberty of Conscience.

BEFORE I enter upon this enquiry, I think it proper to premise, that as magistracy, or the exercise of a regular government in human society is the ordinance of God so the great and main end of government is the gocd and happiness of the society in which it is exercised, by being a security to every one's property, and a keeping every one in the quiet possession of his own; consequently, magistrates or governours can have no right to invade that which the nature and end of their office oblige them to secure. This being premised, I observe, that property is originally God's peculiar; because God hath a sole property in every thing which he is the original supreme cause of, and that is every thing without himself; so that we have no property, with respect-to God, whatever we are, and whatever we have derived from, and dependent upon him : and therefore when I speak of property, I mean that right and property which creatures have, with relation to one another. Property, with respect to men, is either natural or obtained. By natural, I mean such property as we are born into, and which takes place with our very being, which is founded in the stature and reason of things, and so is independent of the will of all creatures. Thus for example, every man has a natural right

to to life, till the giver thereof shall be pleased to take it from him. Now, this is a property which is independent of the wijl of all creatures, being founded in the nature and reason of things, and takes place with our very being. We no sooner begin to live, but we have a natural right to enjoy our lise, so long as God, the giver, shall be pleased to continue it to us, except we forseit that right. And whosoever invades this natural property is guilty of a great injustice. Obtained property is such as is not founded in nature, but depends upon industry, natural contrast, free gift, Or some other like cause. Thus, for example, if a man should agree with a servant to have his la. bour for a year/the servant's labour, for that time, becomes the master's property; not from any natural right that he hath to another man's labour, but from that compact and agreement between the master and the servant, in which compact, he that had the natural right to that labour conveyed it to him whose servant he hath put himself to be.

And as property is thus distinguished into sorts, viz. original, natural, and obtained, so I think the degrees of property in these (if I may so speak) are in one greater than another that is, the original property which God hath in all things is greater than that natural or obtained property, which creatures have in any thing they are possessed of; and the natural property which any creature hath in any thing is greater than any obtained property whatever: consequently, it must be a

than the obtained property of another, and it must be yet a greater crime to invade the original property of God than the natural or obtained property of any creature. ''

Again, the subject of property may bs greater Or leis, tho' the property it self, or right to enjoy

[graphic]

invade the natural

have two estates, one of twenty pounds per annum> and the other of an hundred; and his title or right to enjoy may be equally the fame, as ta both. He has as great a right, and as just a ti-. tie (and so in that respect as great a property) in the lesicr as in the greater estate; and yet it would be a much greater wrong to him, and consequent-r ly a much greater crime to have his property in-= vaded in the greater than }n the lesier, because of the much greater advantage he reaps by it, tho* his right to enjoy them is equally the fame.

Seeing then the great end of government is the good and happiness of the society in which it is exercised, by securing to everyone his property, and keeping every one in the quiet postesfion of his own, it will follow from hence, firsts that she; non-provision for the security of any property in any government, is a defeft in that government; and the greater that property is (whether with, respect to it leif, or with respect to its subject ) which is non-secured, the greater is the desect and' impersection of that government. Secondly\ if any . government sliould be so far from defending any property, whether natural or obtained, as that if. actually invades that property which it shpuld se-, cure, this would be a crime in that government i and the greater that property is which js invaded (whether with respect to itself, or wjth respect to its subject) the greater and more heinous. yrould the crime of that government be, Thus, for example, it hath pleased God to make man a free accountable creature, by planting in him an understanding heart, in the use and "exercise of which he is made capable of examining and judging of the agreement or difagreement, of the fitness or unfitness, of the good or evil, and of the . fcuth or falseness of things, and of determining

and

and directing his practice accordingly. Man being placed in such a state, it is not only his duty to examine and judge what is truth, and what is error, in all those cases wherein any branch of his duty or interest is concerned, and to deter^ mine his practice accordingly; I fay, it is not only his duty thus to do, but it is also his just right and natural property in all casses whatever, so far as he is capable of such an examination and judgment, except his liberty is restrained by the principles of natural or revealed religion, such as the examining and judgingof other men's faults. And as it is every man's natural right to examine and judge for himself, in all those cases wherein he is capable of so doing, and not to be determined in his judgment by the examination and judgment of other men; so it is the duty and business of go Vernment not only to permit and tolerate the society committed to its care, in the use and exercise of this their undoubted right, but also to defend and guard them from the insults and .reproaches, the injuries and wrongs that any mould attempt to afflict them with upon this account, and to fe-, cure theili in the enjoyment of this their natural property. But if governours should be so far from iecuring, or even tolerating the society in the enjoyment of the aforefaid natural property, that on the contrary they set up a scheme of principles and opinions as the standard of the society's judgment, and require the members of that society to submit thtirjuagtnents to that standard, forbidding them to embrace any principle or opinion which is Contrary thereunto, and so prevent every one from examining and judging for himself, and persecute those that do; this is such a notorious invasion of the property of the society as is highly criminal in any government, andhas'been as fatal in its consequences as the invasion of any property L what

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