Natural law, civil power and religion
in Order and conflict
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Parliamentarians shared the idea that the natural right of self-preservation was better secured through the safeguard of state's order. However, Presbyterian writers put an emphasis on the people's consent, regarding it as duty toward God-derived authority, while they were reluctant to ground civil power on individuals promising to retain their natural rights. Despite his frequent attempts to reassure Presbyterians that the new government would achieve the religious clauses of the Covenant, in a few passages touching religion, Anthony Ascham displayed his favour towards a moderately tolerant national church. Notwithstanding his task to sponsor the governmental attempts at reconciliation with Presbyterians and royalists, Ascham displayed the Erastian and anti-clerical stances of many Independents when he traced a sharp dividing line between the prerogative of divines and civil authorities.

Order and conflict

Anthony Ascham and English political thought, 1648–50

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