John Brown: The establishment principle proved from parenting

John Brown: The establishment principle proved from parenting

From On the Absurdity of Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy or Idolatry by John Brown of Haddington

If parents are to establish the true religion in their house, then surely magistrates are also required to do so

Every parent or master ought, for the welfare of his family, yet in subordination to the honour of the God of all families, to:

  • establish the true religion in it, Gen 18:19, Josh 24:15,
  • remove idols out of it, Gen 35:2-4, and
  • refuse seducing heretics a lodging in it, 2 John 1:10-11.

Furthermore, a master, according to this injunction and those approved examples, ought to extrude [thrust or force out] a seducer (or even a member of the family) who obstinately endeavours to corrupt the rest with damnable error, blasphemy, or idolatry. [Why?  Because] he should prevent the infection of the family and hinder the destructive wrath of God from falling on them.

If these things are required of every parent or master, [then] why must not magistrates, who are God’s ministers for good, be allowed power and authority to establish and promote the true Christian religion in their large political “families”, and to repress or exclude notorious murderers of souls and kindlers of the wrath of God?

If parents can exercise such authority, even though they have no power or authority to convert, then the same must hold true for magistrates

The relation of a parent or master is no more spiritual than that of a magistrate, and makes no man either member or officer of Christ’s mystical body any more than magistracy does.

I challenge all “Tolerants” on earth to point out [even] one thing relative to religion [which is] competent [i.e., applicable] to masters and parents, that magistrates are also not bound to; or to prove that the true knowledge, faith, profession and practice of revealed religion, is one whit less necessary and useful in commonwealths than in families.