Slightly paraphrased from On the Absurdity of Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy or Idolatry by John Brown of Haddington.
Restraining men from what they think right in religion, and especially to punish them for it, is contrary to Christian charity which suffereth long, and is kind, envieth not, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, believeth all things, and hopeth all things (1 Cor 13:4-7), contrary to that meekness, mercy and peaceableness exemplified in Christ and required in Christians (Rom 15:1, Gal 4:1, 2, Eph 4:32, 2 Tim2 2:15 & James 3:15).
- Christian charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. [The Word] requires that nothing should be done out of malice or envy, or rashly on bare surmises, or without due examination of facts and circumstances, but [it does] not [thus follow] that rulers, either of church or state, should overlook every scandal or crime contrary to the law of God. Even the undue delay of censure or punishment encourages men in wickedness. Much more then would the total overlooking of it be wrong (Eccl 8:11).
- The texts quoted in the objection are directed to Christians and church rulers. I therefore ask:
- Is their holy zeal and activity in restraining and censuring the corrupters of the church (according to Christ’s command, Rev 2:2, 6, 14, 15, 20; Rom 16:17, Gal 5:10, Titus 3:10 & 1 Tim 1:20) contrary to Christian charity, meekness, or mercifulness?
- Did Moses abandon his unparalleled meekness when he zealously punished the Hebrew idolaters (Num 25:5 with Exod 32:26-29)?
- Was Jesus Christ destitute of all meekness and mercy when He appointed the restraints and penalties under the Old Testament, and the tremendous censure of excommunication under the New?
- Was He [Jesus]destitute of all charity, meekness and mercy, in never giving a hint that these laws are now repealed, and are now cruel and tyrannical?
- Was He destitute of all charity, meekness and mercy, when the zeal of his Father’s house did eat him up, when he repeatedly drove the buyers and sellers from the temple (John 2:13-19, Matt 21:12)?