Table of Contents
A Survey of the First Chapter. Inconsistent expressions of Parker in regard to the power of the magistrate and the rights of conscience — The design of his discourse to prove the magistrate’s authority to govern the consciences of his subjects in affairs of religion — This doctrine inconsistent with British law — Ascribes more power to the magistrate than to Christ — Contrary to the history of the royal prerogative — Alleged necessity of the principle to public peace and order — Evils alleged to spring from liberty of conscience — The principle of Parker no real preventive to these evils — Various pleas refuted.
A Survey of the Second Chapter. Alleged power of the magistrate over the conscience in matters of morality refuted — Distinction between moral virtue and grace — Meaning of the terms — Four propositions of Parker on grace and virtue considered — Agreement between the views of Parker and those of the Socinian Seidelius — Exceptions taken to these views — Power of the magistrate in reference to moral duties — The true ground of obligation to these duties.
A Survey of the Third Chapter. Liberty of conscience — The obligation to comply with its dictates not superseded by the authority of the magistrate — External worship an essential part of religion — External worship not left to be regulated by man — The rite of sacrifice shown to be of divine original — Alleged right of the magistrate to appoint ceremonies — Distinction between words and ceremonies as signs.
A Survey of the Fifth Chapter. Alleged evils from the free exercise of conscience — Charges of Parker against Nonconformists — Mischief of different sects in a commonwealth — Duties of a prince in regard to divided interests in religion — Principle of toleration asserted.
A Survey of the Sixth Chapter. The word of God the sole rule of worship — The light of reason — Vocal revelation — Magistrate’s power in regard to things without the church but about it — Testimonies from the ancient fathers as to the supreme authority of Scripture — Alleged instances from the Old Testament of the magistrate appointing religious rites — Parker’s answers to certain objections considered — Doctrine of passive obedience refuted — Alleged right of the magistrate to punish his subjects if they will not comply with idolatry or superstition established by law — The true dignity and functions of the magistrate declared — Exhortation to toleration and charity.