clothing the great truth in its boldest and most general
terms, he asserted that ‘the civil magistrate may not intermeddle even to stop a church from apostacy and heresy,’ ‘that his power extends only to the bodies and goods and outward estate of men.’1
With corresponding distinctness he foresaw the influence of his principles on society.
The removal of the yoke of soul-oppression, ‘—to use the words in which, at a later ay, he confirmed his early view,’—‘as it will prove an act of mercy and righteousness to the enslaved nations, so it is of binding force to engage the whole and every interest and conscience to preserve the common liberty and peace.’2
The same magistrates who punished Eliot
apostle of the Indian
race, for censuring their measures, could not brook the independence of Williams
; and the circumstances of the times seemed to them to justify their apprehensions.
An intense jealousy was excited in England
of the Generall Court
received intelligence of some episcopal and malignant practises against the country;’ and the magistrates on the one hand were scrupulously careful to avoid all unnecessary offence to the English
government, on the other were sternly consolidating their own institutions, and even preparing for resistance.
It was in this view that the Freeman
's Oath was appointed; by which every freeman was obliged to pledge his allegiance, not to King Charles, but to Massachusetts
There was room for scruples on