John Cotton – Certain Proposals Made by Lord Say, Lord Brooke, and Other Persons of Quality, as Conditions of Their Removing to New England, with Answers Thereto, 1636
- Demand – Lord Say
& others who have poured a ton of money into New England ought to be
allowed to keep their titles here in America but from this point forward, we
shouldn’t be handing them out unless both Houses agree to it.
- Answer – We are grateful to those who have invested in our colony. That money goes a long way to secure our future – physically, spiritually & financially. Everybody thinks of them as great benefactors & sees their acts as gifts from God. The custom of this country is to bestow upon them & their heirs a form of eminency as gentlemen of this country. We don’t call upon people like this to stand for election in our country until they actually move here & join our churches & political institutions. Hereditary temporal powers only have power in the civil laws of some commonwealths. According to the Bible, the authority & power of the father is nowhere communicated, together with his honors, to all his posterity. When God blesses a family with a spirit & gifts fit for government, it would be taking the Lord’s name in vain not to admit him to government, however it should be through elections.
- Demand – The rank
of freeholders will be made up of those who have a decent sized estate &
those who have contributed to the country either through their money or labors.
- Answer – That’s not the usually practice of New England. With a few exceptions of the very early settlers – all of them freemen, we don’t grant the freeman status to people without them joining an established church. Only out of these freemen do we choose magistrates. The Bible clearly points out that the people should only choose a man to enforce laws if he is a man of God. Bad things would happen otherwise.
- Objection – There
may be many non-religious men that God has endowed with abilities fit for
- Answer – They may be consulted with & employed by governors according to their abilities but they are not to be trusted with established power & authority. There are Biblical examples of this – especially with David & his advisors.
- Objection – The Church’s
power & the Commonwealth’s power aren’t compatible.
- Answer – It’s one thing for the church & its members to submit to a temporal power. But it’s another matter when the occasion arises for these members to be called to choose the form of government, its governors & administrators. If it’s true that only God-fearing Christians are fit for our government, then it’s also true that nobody is fit to be trusted with Christians’ liberties than other Christians. Christians therefore have the right to choose amongst the faithful governors & officials who believe consistently what Christians believe in order to preserve their ability to live Christian lives. We can trust these people to follow the right path. Non-believers may lead good government but may not be trusted to do so consistently & in accordance to God’s will.