Looking for assistance in tracking down a passage from Ben Morris:
"who should go about to subvert and destroy the Christian faith and religion by broaching and maintaining damnable heresies, as denying the immortality of the soul or the resurrection of the body, or denying that Christ gave himself a ransom for our sins, or shall deny the morality of the 4th commandment, or shall deny the ordinance of the civil magistrate, shall be banished"
I think this might be from something passed by the General Assembly of Massachusetts in 1672, but I can't find it. Perhaps some of you with better internet search skills (or better resources) can find it?
The relevance is that it goes to the question of who counted as "Christian", at least in Massachusetts. Three points deserve note: (1) no mention of the triune nature of God, nor the union of natures in Christ; (2) special mention given to the sabbath, (3) special mention given to the civil magistrate.
What on earth does denying the ordinance of the civil magistrate have to do with "damnable heresies"? Only this: church structure matters.
The Puritans of Massachusetts were Congregationalists/Separatists, as opposed to Presbyterians. The Puritan movement in Britain was broken into those three branches, with the Church of England defining the fourth branch, Episcopalianism. The Episcopelians taught rule of bishops; the Presbyterians (e.g. the Church of Scotland) taught rule of church courts. The Congregationalists had a bottom-up view, rather than a top-down view, and couldn't develop a principle of who should rule while they were in Europe, but in America they quickly realized that the only choice left if they were not to be ruled either by church hierarchies or by church administrations was to be ruled by some parachurch entity, the civil magistrate. The Separatists became Congragationalists once in America, separation having been achieved. (Some would argue the other way around, the Congregationalists became Separatists; no matter)
The other point, about the sabbath, is a nod to why the Puritans were not content with life in Calvinist Holland.
In any case, can you help track down the quote?