them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror: human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man, and divine laws, given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.
7 We believe that Rulers, States and Governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right, in justice, to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence is shown to the laws, and such re ligious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
8 We believe that the commission of crime should be punish ed according to the nature of the offence: that murder, treason, robbery, theft and the breach of the general peace, in all re spects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that Govern ment in which the offence is committed: and for the public peace and tranquility, all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders, against good laws, to pun ishment.
9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil Government, whereby one religious society is foster ed and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.
10 We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct according to the rules and regulations of such societies, provided that such dealing be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or put them in jeopardy either life or limb, neither to inflict any physical punishment upon them,—they can only excommunicate them from their society and withdraw from their fellowship.
11 We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for re dress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted, or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends and property, and the Government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons, in times of exigencies, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and re lief afforded.
12 We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of [p. 253]