From On the Absurdity of Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy or Idolatry by John Brown of Haddington
As true religion exalts a nation, so false religion casts a nation into the depths of depravity. What magistrate would deny this?
Unless true and false religion be equally calculated to render men good subjects (or magistrates), and to promote the peace and prosperity of commonwealths, in subordination to the honour of God, as King of nations, they can never deserve or lawfully enjoy equal encouragement, protection or liberty.
But the true religion:
- exalts a nation (Prov 14:34);
- renders it quiet and prosperous (2 Chr 14:1-7); and
- teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly (Titus 2:11-12).
The fruits produced by it [i.e., true religion] are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against which there is no law (Gal 5:22-23), whereas gross heresy, blasphemy and idolatry debauch men’s consciences, making them seared with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2); and making their affections vile, and their mind and senses reprobate (Rom 1:26, 28).
- They render men, filled with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, [to become] believers and speakers of lies in hypocrisy, giving heed to the damnable doctrines of devils: proud, doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth (2 Thess 2:10-12, 1st Tim 4:1-3 & 1 Tim 6:3-4).
- They render times perilous, and men covetous, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce despisers, and extirpators of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, hypocritical, dissemblers, villainous, corrupters of families, haters and resisters of sound doctrine, reprobate concerning the faith, and waxing worse and worse, who will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts, heap up to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and turn away their ears from the truth to fables (2 Tim 3:1-8, 13 & 1 Tim 4:3-4).
- They, as a canker, eat out the principles, profession and practice of piety and virtue, and increase unto more ungodliness (2 Tim 2:16-17).
- They make men self destroyers:
- Their pernicious ways much followed, the way of truth reproached, and dispose them through covetousness with feigned words to make damnable merchandise of souls;
- they render men horridly unchaste, presumptuous, self-willed, despisers and revilers of magistrates and church rulers, beguilers of unstable souls, exercised in covetous practices, cursed children, speakers of great swelling words of vanity, pretenders to liberty, but real slaves of corruption (2 Pet 2:1-3, 10-19).
- They render men ungodly turners of the grace of God into lasciviousness [who become]:
- filthy dreamers, who defile the flesh, despise dominions, and speak evil of dignities;
- blasphemers and calumniators of those things which they know not, who go in the unnatural and maliciously murderous way of Cain, run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perish in the rebellious gainsaying of Kore; and
- are luxurious, unprofitable; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame;
- wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever;
- men of ungodly deeds and hard speeches;
- murmurers, complainers, walkers after their own lusts, whose mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration, because of advantage; and
- sensual and separating mockers, who walk after their ungodly lusts (Jude 1:4, 8, 10-13, 15-16, 18, 19).
- They render persons and societies full of abominations and filthiness of fornication:
- a mystery of iniquity, and mother of harlots and abominations in the earth;
- drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus;
- fighters against Him, who is LORD of lords, and pretendedly conscientious murderers of His ministers and people (Rev 17:3-6, 14 & John 16:2).
Summary: The fruits of heresy
In fine, they introduce unnatural lusts of the flesh, and tend to fill men with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debates, deceit, and malignity. And heresy makes them whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Such are contrary to their own inward convictions, commit the most abominable crimes, and have pleasure in them that do the like (Rom 1:21-23). These, if God knows and speaks truth, are the native fruits of heresy, blasphemy and idolatry, infecting the [so-called] “good subjects”, if Providence permit them [i.e., the seducers] to reduce their principles to practice. How then is it for the safety of nations, or the honour of God as King of nations, to have them authoritatively tolerated in His name?