Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter II: Second Objection, The literal Sense appears odious, only by our judging of the ways of God from those of Men. Tho the State that Men are in, when they act from Passion, seems likely to lead 'em to wrong Judgments, it does not follow but God, b - A Philosophical Commentary on These Words of the Gospel, Luke 14.23, 'Compel Them to Come In, That My House May Be Full'
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Chapter II: Second Objection, The literal Sense appears odious, only by our judging of the ways of God from those of Men. Tho the State that Men are in, when they act from Passion, seems likely to lead ’em to wrong Judgments, it does not follow but God, b - Pierre Bayle, A Philosophical Commentary on These Words of the Gospel, Luke 14.23, ‘Compel Them to Come In, That My House May Be Full’ 
A Philosophical Commentary on These Words of the Gospel, Luke 14.23, ‘Compel Them to Come In, That My House May Be Full’, edited, with an Introduction by John Kilcullen and Chandran Kukathas (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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Second Objection, The literal Sense appears odious, only by our judging of the ways of God from those of Men. Tho the State that Men are in, when they act from Passion, seems likely to lead ’em to wrong Judgments, it does not follow but God, by the wonderful Issues of his Providence, may accomplish his own Work. The Fallacy of this Thought, and what are the ordinary Effects of Persecution.
Before I proceed to Objections of greater Importance, it’s fit I take notice of a Challenge, which may arise upon my saying, that our Saviour had very ill adapted the Means to the Ends, had he appointed the exciting several Passions in the Soul, in order to its discerning the true Religion from the false. They’l tell me, shou’d a Man go this way to work, ’twou’d indeed be very wrong in him; but that the ways of God being not our ways, Jesus Christ might very well have prescrib’d such a Method. When he wou’d open the Eyes of a blind Man, he did the very thing which in all probability must have put out his Eyes, if they had not bin out before, yet he gave him his Sight by a means so seemingly improper: And why not as easily administer the Influence of his Holy Spirit, to a Review of the two Religions in a storm of worldly Hopes and Fears? Let’s scan this Cavil.<168>
In the first place I observe, that the Proposition, The ways of God are not our ways, being incapable of this general meaning, God never operates by the same means which Men make use of, since there are a hundred Instances to the contrary; nothing can be concluded from it in favor of the meaning contended for in the words, Compel ’em to come in, till it be first made appear from other Heads, and by direct Proofs, that we ought to understand ’em in the literal Sense, and that no absurd Consequences hinder our understanding ’em so. If once it were clearly prov’d, that Jesus Christ enjoins Constraint, I own indeed we might justify this Command from the Sovereign Prerogative of God, which makes him sometimes take measures very opposite to those which we shou’d take. But as long as the literal Sense of this Passage is disputed by numberless Reasons, and some of ’em drawn from the very Spirit and Tendency of the Gospel; to plead this Maxim, The ways of God are not our ways, is in truth a degree of Dotage; and what’s worse, ’tis resolving all human Knowledg and divine Revelation into downright detestable Pyrrhonism. For there’s not a Text in Scripture, which by this Rule might not have a Sense given it directly opposite to the ordinary meaning of the words. I might say, for example, that when Jesus Christ promises he’l reward our good Works in Heaven, his meaning is, that he’l damn Men for their good Works; for the ways of God not being our ways, he ought not to speak as we do, but have a meaning to his words quite contrary to what we impose. So that there wou’d be no proving of any thing from Scripture, nor in-<169>deed from Reason; because it might still be alledg’d, that the Principles of Reasoning, which are the Rule of Truth and Falshood when deliver’d by a Father to his Son, ought not to be reputed such when coming from God, who is suppos’d to run counter in every thing to the ways of Man. Away then with these Extravagancys, which our Adversarys are driven to for Objections.
In the second place, I say, that the Example of the Clay made use of for opening blind Eyes, carrys in it two essential Differences: One, that it is a particular Action of Jesus Christ, which we don’t read, that either he or his Disciples had ever repeated, whereas the Command of compelling is deliver’d in general terms; and the other, that Matter having no repugnancy to one Motion more than another, or to one Figure more than another, may very aptly be employ’d in the hands of God to the producing any kind of Effect; but the Soul of Man, guiding it self by Reason, and by a certain scale or gradation of Thought, Order requires, that God shou’d accommodate himself to this Scale. So that if the thought of Danger, for example, or any other Passion, be follow’d with Darkness in the Judgment and Precipitation in the Will, God shall surely never ordain, that the Season for distinguishing Truth from Falshood shou’d universally be that of this Darkness in the Soul, and this Precipitation in the Will.
Will they have infinite Examples of the Conformity of the ways of God with those of Men? let ’em only read the Gospel; so many Verses almost as they read, are so many Instances of it, since it is evident, God speaks there after the manner of a Master instructing his Disciples. A Master<170> speaks; he makes use of terms which are current in the Country, and understood by his Hearers: these are the ways of Man when he teaches. And are not these the ways of God too? Does not he speak the Language of those he addresses himself to; and does not he most commonly use words in the same Sense that others do? But I have other Examples at hand, which are still nearer my purpose.
When God had a design of converting the Pagan World, ’tis certain he made use of Instruments very different from those which Men wou’d have employ’d in such a Work; yet a great many human Means interven’d, Instructions by living Discourse, and by Writings, Censures, Disputes, and other like ways by which Men instruct one another. Nor have we a single Example of any Peoples being converted without the Means of Preaching, any more than we have an Example of a Scholar’s believing all Plato has said, without ever hearing of Plato. The natural and human order is, that a Man be first acquainted with Plato’s Doctrines, either by reading his Works, or by Conversation with those who have. And God so constantly pursues the same methods, that never was it heard, that any Man had known there was such a Person as Jesus Christ, but by reading the Gospel himself, or by the Testimony of others. Don’t imagine, that e’er the People of the Terra Australis shall become Christians, till Christian Preachers come among ’em to preach the Gospel. I say further, that after the Holy Spirit has converted a Man to Christianity, he still strikes in with his natural Temper; whence it comes to pass, that there’s always a Tincture of the Dis-<171>position and natural Temper in the religious Conversation and Actions of every Man: an evident Argument, that God overturns not the Order establish’d upon the Union of Soul and Body, when Religion’s in the Case. Since therefore this general Law of the Union of Soul and Body forms such a Chain or Gradation of Thoughts in the Soul, that the Apprehension of a temporal Evil is follow’d by a Perturbation, which obscures the Lights of the Judgment, weakens the use of the Free-will, and inclines the Soul to that side which promises it Deliverance (I say the same of all the other Passions) it’s reasonable to believe, that God does not thwart this natural Series of the Thoughts: and for my part, I don’t doubt, when he converts a Sinner in an extraordinary way, as he converted St. Paul, but he falls in with the stream of his Thoughts by one side or other, and afterwards follows their natural drift. I don’t deny, that he often makes use of the Passions of the Soul to draw us towards him, and to disengage us from the World; but ’tis in such a manner, that he forbids us to do that Evil to our Neighbor, which yet his Providence makes an occasion of his Salvation. For example, there’s no doubt but God, for the Conversion of a young Rake, may make use of a Blow, which has crippled him; of a Fraud, which has brought him to Beggary; of a Calumny, which ruins his Reputation, and obliges him perhaps to quit this World, and think upon things above: yet the salutary Uses, which God knows how to draw from these Disgraces, lessen not the Sin in him who cripples, or defrauds, or calumniates this Person. Accordingly, shou’d I allow, that Persecutions<172> oblige a great many to examine their Religion, and quit it for the true, yet they are criminal nevertheless, and consequently forbidden by God; so far from being commanded by the Words, Compel ’em to come in.
This single Remark is in my Opinion decisive; for since Fraud, Mutilation, Calumnys, Imprisonment, and such like Practices, wou’d be criminal, if employ’d against these young Rakes, who transgressing no politickal Law of the State, are not justly punishable by the Magistrate: since, I say, these Practices wou’d be criminal, notwithstanding God might draw out of ’em the Repentance and Amendment of the Sufferers; it must be allow’d, that ruining a Man, ordering him to be beaten, imprison’d, tormented, is exceeding criminal in Sovereigns, notwithstanding that God, by the invisible Springs, and incomprehensible Dispensations of his Grace, may make use of those Evils for the enlightening a Man’s Understanding. Whence we can’t but see the gross Illusion that Persecutors are under in believing they are quit of all their Iniquitys, by supposing that God reaps the Advantage of ’em towards the enlightening those who are in Error. But pray wou’d not he reap the same Advantage from their doing the like to a Gamester, to a Whoremonger, to a Drunkard? Wherefore then don’t they think it lawful to quarter a Troop of fifty Dragoons on a Gamester, to spoil him of his Goods, his Wife, his Children, to suborn false Witnesses against him, to brand him with publick Infamy? Is it not because we have a Law of God, prescribing and stating our Dutys, without permitting the Practice of the contrary, under any<173> pretence of God’s drawing out of ’em the Manifestation of his own Glory, and the Salvation of the Elect? Why won’t they apply this to their persecuting on the score of Religion?
But how will this look, if I shew in the third place, that, very far from God’s making use of Persecutions as a means of bringing Men to the knowledg of the Truth, we have all the Experience in the world to the contrary, and all the ground to believe they are of no effect this way: which ought to convince us, that God has not establish’d Violence as an occasional Cause of his Grace. Yet this is what Persecutors must suppose, to give their second Objection the least weight. They ought to say, that Violences consider’d in themselves, and in their own nature, are unjust and forbidden by God: but as the Water of Baptism, incapable in its own nature of sanctifying our Souls, has bin exalted by the Institution of God to the Quality of a moral, at least an occasional, Cause of Regeneration; so Violences have bin exalted, by the appointment of God, to the Quality of instrumental and occasional Causes of the Illumination of Hereticks. And at this rate they must be consider’d as a kind of Sacrament, transubstantiated by the virtue of these Sacramental Words, Compel ’em to come in; and trans-elemented from unjust, as they were by nature, into perfectly holy Actions, and perfectly divine.
Upon this I have two or three things to offer: 1. That it does not seem possible, that an Action repugnant to natural Equity, to the Law, and to the Gospel, evil from an intrinsick Turpitude, and from the Interdiction of God, shou’d be<174> pitch’d on by Jesus Christ for the Instrument of the Salvation of Men, apply’d and put in Execution by the very same Men to whom it is most peculiarly forbidden. Were Persecution a thing purely indifferent in its own nature, as Water, which morally speaking is neither good nor evil, I shou’d not talk at this rate. 2. That were such an Action chosen by God for the instrumental Cause of the Illumination of those in error, it might be expected that the Revelation of it shou’d be made in the clearest and most express Terms, the freest from all Equivoke, and the least liable to any exception; it might be expected, that God shou’d have prevented all our Doubts upon this head, satisfy’d all our Scruples, and reconcil’d all the apparent Contradictions in this Revelation to the general Tenor and Spirit of the Gospel. But so far is he from having reveal’d it in such a manner, that we find but one small Sentence tending this way in the whole Gospel, and that a piece of a Parable too, with the word Compel at the tail on’t; a Word which on a hundred other occasions signifies the pressings of Civility and Kindness to keep a Friend, for example, to dine with us. And this Sentence being only ascrib’d to the Master of the Family, does not directly imply the Constraint of those without, or of Infidels; which yet ’twas but reasonable it shou’d, in a case so inconsistent with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and his divine Doctrine. In a word, I say, the Experience of all Ages convinces us, that Violences lose not their nature by being employ’d in the service of the true Religion; for they have the very same Effects and Consequences in this, as in all other Cases.<175>
Let’s suppose for a moment, that the Church of Rome is the true Church; and take a view of the Consequences of Compulsion to it, and compare ’em with the Consequences of compelling to any other Religion. As long as the King of France did only alarm his Protestant Subjects, did only publish Edicts to clip their Privileges, and deprive ’em of several common Advantages; did only threaten those who persisted in their Heresy with the roughest Treatment; what came of it? Why only this, that these People, excepting a very few here and there, grew more zealous in their Religion than ever. Nothing was to be seen among ’em but continual Fastings, extraordinary Humiliations, retrenching in Luxury and Superfluity: the last thought that cou’d ever enter into their Souls, was believing God afflicted ’em on account of a false Religion; quite contrary, they were eternally imputing the Evils which fell, or were ready to fall on ’em, both in their Sermons and serious Conversations, to their want of Zeal for this Religion, to their Lukewarmness in its Services, to their disrelish for those Truths which their Ministers preach’d to ’em; and confessing that the only means of averting the Judgments, and appeasing the Wrath of God, was a Change of Life, and a ferventer Zeal in the Protestant way. This is very far from what the Convertists pretend, that Violences open a Man’s eyes to see his Heresys. I’m verily persuaded, shou’d a Protestant Prince treat his Roman Catholick Subjects the same way, that they wou’d just so have recourse to extraordinary Prayers to God and to the Saints, as believing ’em displeas’d only at their Indifference and want<176> of Zeal for their own Religion; and thus become more Popish than they were before. The Turks, in like manner, wou’d but grow more zealous and obstinate in Mahometism; the Jews in Judaism, and so on.
Let’s now take a view of what happen’d, when the King of France let loose his Dragoons, and left his Protestant Subjects only the hard Alternative, either of going to Mass, or leading the Remainder of their Life in a long and almost infinite Complication of Miserys: They sunk almost all under the Temptation, some more persuaded than ever that their own Religion was the true, and the Romish detestable; others by bringing themselves by little and little to an Indifference for all Religions, and believing they might be sav’d in a false one, by not embracing its wicked Worship at heart. Such of ’em as play’d the Bigots, and even Persecutors of their Brethren, were still some degrees worse than the rest: the greatest part acting only from Vanity and Avarice; they wou’d not have it suspected, that their Change was from any other Motive than Conviction; they aspire to Pensions and Benefices, and this in plain English means that they won’t believe in God, but upon an Inventory of what he’s worth. These Consequences are very deplorable, and far from enlightning the Soul, serve only to plunge it into a worse state than the former, supposing the former a Heresy in good Faith. Nothing of what I here suppose concerning the Dispositions of the Lapsed, can be justly deny’d, because we see so few of ’em go to Mass with a good will, and that there’s a necessity of keeping strict guards on all the Fron-<177>tiers and Sea-ports, to prevent their flying out of the Kingdom; and of publishing terrible Edicts against those who refuse the Sacrament in their Sickness: not a day passes but their dead Bodys are drag’d on Sledges, and deny’d Christian Burial. There’s no doubt but a Protestant Prince, who took the same methods with his Popish Subjects, must produce the same effects by his Dragoons; most of ’em wou’d sign whate’er was tender’d, but with a deeper horror for Calvinism than ever, and perhaps some Seeds of Atheism; a great many wou’d hope to be sav’d by their Invocations of the Virgin in secret, by their Pocket Images, and by the Confessions and clandestine Communions from Priests in masquerade; very few enlighten’d. So that now supposing the Reform’d Religion the truest, Persecutions wou’d avail it very little to the making sincere Converts, and propagating the Truth. The persecuting Turks, Jews, Pagans, or their persecuting one another, can have no other effect; Hypocrisys and Irreligion, and nothing more. God perhaps does not suffer Infidels to get ground by their Persecutions. But History abounds with Examples to the contrary: Pliny writes to his Emperor, that several Christians, whom he had summon’d, having at first confess’d they were Christians, deny’d it soon after; professing they had bin so once, but never wou’d again. He adds, that the Pagan Religion, which was in a manner lost in Bythinia, began to take heart.64 Which shews, that the Dread of Punishment had made a great many Apostates. It’s astonishing to think what multitudes of Christians fell away under the Emperor Decius; read Cyprian’s ac-<178>count of it.65 It’s well known, what numbers the Saracens, Disciples of Mahomet, pluck’d out of the Christian Church. Let’s conclude then, that Compulsion never loses its natural tendency, which is that of confirming Men in their Opinions, or teaching ’em to dissemble thro Fear, Vanity, Ambition, or leading ’em to an Indifference for all Religions. Let’s now confound our Adversarys by their own Maxims.
Don’t they say, that the Severity of our Harry VIII was the cause why most of his Subjects renounc’d the Pope’s Supremacy? Don’t they say, that the pretended Reform’d Religion had never bin establish’d in England under Edward VI if the Secular Arm had not bin employ’d against the Catholick? Don’t they say, that after Queen Mary had effectually restor’d the Church of Rome, Elizabeth cou’d ne’er have re-establish’d Heresy, had she forbore Constraint, and not issued the most severe Injunctions, and enacted penal Laws against Papists? Don’t they still believe, as appears by the favorable Construction they wou’d put upon Coleman’s Plot,66 discover’d by Letters under his own hand, that were there a free Exercise of the Popish Religion allow’d in England, and the Penal Laws repeal’d, the whole Kingdom wou’d quickly be of that Religion? Don’t they object against the Truth of the Protestant Religion, that it has bin establish’d by Arms and Violence? They won’t, I suppose, pretend to dispute any of these Facts. And therefore I shall make bold to conclude for ’em, that Constraint and threaten’d Punishment have the very same effects against the true, as against a false Religion. So that ’tis extremely imperti-<179>nent to suppose that God gives his Blessing only to the Compulsion of Hereticks: for if so, the Lot of the persecuted Orthodox wou’d not resemble that of persecuted Hereticks; and even this Absurdity follow, that the Orthodox wou’d be abandon’d of God under their Persecutions, and Hereticks receiv’d into his Arms; the Sheep driven out of the Fold, those who were nurtur’d and bred up in it, and Strangers made to come in. The Successes of the Mahometan Compulsions are enough to confound our Missionarys.
But if we consider only the Consequences of Persecutions between Christian and Christian, we shall find reasons enough to convince us that God cou’d not have establish’d ’em as an occasional Cause of enlightning Grace. The reason is this: Had he constituted ’em such by the Efficacy of the words, Compel ’em to come in; every Christian Sect that had sense enough to take the Intention of the Son of God aright, and Zeal enough to observe it, must persecute the rest, in hopes that God wou’d convert ’em by this means. And thus God might order it so, that the Means of Grace shou’d be much oftner employ’d in favor of Falshood than Truth, and yet have no reasonable ground, it seems, neither for taxing Hereticks with their Abuse of Persecution; because as it is no sin in a Heretick to give an Alms in obedience to God’s Command, so it were no sin in him to compel in obedience to the Command of Jesus Christ. Nor can it be pretended that this Command is given, not to promote the Interests of Error, but those of Truth; and that therefore a Heretick who executes the Or-<180>ders which Jesus Christ has given in his Parable, commits a Sin: for by the same rule it might be prov’d, that a Heretick does very ill in giving Alms to any of the Poor of his own Sect, because this hinders their applying to the Overseers of the Poor among the Orthodox, who might thereby have an opportunity of bringing ’em over by the hopes of Bread. From hence it wou’d likewise follow, that praying and living soberly and vertuously in a heretick Society, wou’d be downright Sin; because this Devotion and good Life promote the Interests of Error. So that the nature of all Christian Dutys wou’d hereby be chang’d and confounded, and the Precepts of the Gospel, addrest to all Christians in general, wou’d concern only the Orthodox, and the obeying ’em be sin in the rest of the World. Was ever so monstrous a Notion fram’d of moral Dutys?
Cou’d there be any ground for a plausible Murmur against the most wise and most adorable Providence of God, ’twou’d surely be his permitting those of the true Religion to be expos’d to Temptations so hard to be resisted, as Tortures and acute Pain; very few Souls are proof against ’em, and few who in the extremity of Suffering won’t betray Conscience. ’Tis true, the Rack is appointed by the Justice of several Countrys, yet all don’t approve it; because the Pain often forces the Party to confess what he ne’er was guilty of, and accuse others who are suspected, and whom it’s design’d he shou’d accuse. Montagne talks very judiciously upon this: It’s a dangerous Invention, says he, this of the Rack, and looks like a proof of Patience rather than Truth.<181> He who is able to bear it, hides the Truth, and he who is not. For why shou’d Pain force me to confess what I do know, and not force me to confess what I know nothing of? On the other hand, if he who is not guilty has patience enough to support the Torment, why shou’d not he who is; so sweet a Reward as Life being propos’d him? … To say the truth, it’s an Experiment of great uncertainty and danger. What won’t a Man say, what won’t he do, to avoid so exquisite a Torture? Etiam Innocentes cogit mentiri Dolor: Whence it often happens, that he who condemns him to the Rack, for fear of making him die innocent, makes him die both innocent and rack’d.67 These are truly the ordinary Effects of those cruel Pains, which a Man is put to by the racking of his Limbs. Will they have him say, he does not believe what he really does; that he is not a Christian, when he is in his Soul? he’l tell ’em, not able to bear the Pain, he’s no Christian. Will they have him say, he believes what he really cannot; that he’s a good Papist, tho he’s a Calvinist, suppose, or Lutheran; or that he’s a good Calvinist, tho in his Soul he’s a Papist? he’l tell ’em he is; overcome by the Torment, and finding that his Dissimulation and Lying will be a present Relief. Monsieur St. Mars, who was beheaded at Lyons for conspiring against Cardinal Richlieu, died with a deal of Constancy, and shew’d a perfect Contempt of Death; but under such a dread of the Question68 at the same time, that it’s probable had they given it him, he wou’d have confess’d what they pleas’d, and perhaps things most opposite to those Notions of Honor which were dearest to him.<182>
Now if this be what our Reason can’t well reconcile, that the same God, who in uniting the Soul to the Body, ordain’d it shou’d be sensible of such a degree of Pain, whenever this Body was strain’d to such a pitch; shou’d permit this Body to be subject to the Rage of Persecutors, who put us to the most exquisite pains, but with this condition, that they’l immediately deliver, and load us with Favors, provided we’l declare our Assent to things which we disbeliev’d before: If, I say, the bare permitting this be hardly reconcilable to Reason, what wou’d it be shou’d Jesus Christ himself have positively ordain’d these Tortures, and under such a Condition? For my part I can’t see, if he had, what cou’d be offer’d, with the least color of Reason, to quiet the Murmurs of a Man, who shou’d go about to reject all reveal’d Religion: whereas by supposing that the Law and declar’d Will of God to Men is this, That they do no wrong to their Neighbor; we may easily reconcile his not forcing ’em to do good by a positive Act, and against their Inclination. Whence it follows, that he may, consistently with his Justice and Holiness, permit ’em to proceed to Persecution: in which case he supports the Faithful by his special Grace, or suffers ’em to yield, that he may raise ’em up again with greater Glory by Repentance.
What I have bin observing about the Rack, may be apply’d in a due proportion to all other Trials; such as those which the French Protestants were put to, when expos’d, beaten, eaten up by Dragoons, and brought into such distress, that they had nothing before their eyes but Dun-<183>geons and Distress on Distress, in case they made the least discovery of the firm Persuasion of their Soul. They say, the Millers were forbad, in some Provinces, to grind Corn for the new Converts; and the Bakers to sell ’em Bread, unless they brought an authentick Certificate of their Catholicity. So that they were put to the hard Choice of starving, they and their Children, or taking the Sacrament; not daring to make their escape out of the Kingdom, on pain, if they were taken, of tugging at an Oar all the rest of their Life. Every reasonable Body will allow, that the Gnawings of Hunger which a Mother suffers, and which she sees her Children suffer before her eyes, are altogether as sharp as the Pains of the Rack, and sharper perhaps in some Complexions than the Rack it self; which if the Party undergoes without confessing, he’s sure of being out of the clutches of the Law.
But if there’s no room to believe that Jesus Christ has enjoin’d Persecution, because by enjoining it he becomes the immediate Cause of all the Evils which Hereticks might bring upon the Orthodox, and the mediate Cause of all the Hypocrisys which these might be forc’d to, in the same manner as he is the immediate Cause of the Alms which Hereticks bestow on their Neighbor, in obedience to the Gospel, and the mediate Cause of all the natural Consequences of these Alms: if, I say, this be incredible from that reason, it’s no less so from this; to wit, that there being intrepid resolute Spirits in all Sects, and strongly persuaded of the Truth of their own Religion, each must have its Martyrs in case of Persecution. Now these Martyrs are the su-<184>rest Support in the world of any Religion, by confirming their Brethren in a persuasion, that they die for the Truth. And therefore if Jesus Christ had commanded Constraint, he had himself left a mighty Obstacle in the way of Truth, because the inflexible Temper of some Men, and their Courage in dying for their Errors, had confirm’d the rest of the Sect more and more in the Belief of ’em. A French Historian has observ’d very justly, that the Martyrdom of Anne du Bourg unsettled more mens Minds, than a hundred Ministers cou’d have done with all their Sermons.69 I know what’s commonly said, that it is not the Suffering, but the Cause, which makes the Martyr. But pray how is this to the purpose? Is it not a bare Dispute about words, or begging the Question? However, without insisting, that the intrepid Joy with which a Man dies for his Religion, may have a retrospective effect upon his Tenets, to the persuading those of their Truth who believ’d ’em most false before; there being no Argument for moving the People like Spectacles of this kind, nor no such Testimony of Sincerity: without insisting, I say, upon this, is it not at least incontestable, that those of the same Religion for which he dies, will reckon him a true Martyr, persuaded, as we suppose they are, of his dying for the Cause of Truth? We are at the same Childrens-play with regard to the nature of Martyrdom, as with regard to a thousand other things. We dispute about mere Words; each Sect supposing, that only they who die in its own Cause are worthy of the name of Martyr. And now, I may presume, the pretended Institution of Violences, as<185> an occasional Cause of Grace, is as fully confuted as any reasonable Reader can desire. So I shall pass to a new Objection.
[64. ]See above, p. 143, note.
[65. ]For example, Cyprian, “Of the Lapsed,” chs. 6–9, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson (Edinburgh: Clark, 1867–), vol. 5.
[66. ]Edward Coleman was accused by Titus Oates and executed as a traitor.
[67. ]Essais, l. 2. [Author’s note in the French edition. Montaigne, Essais, book 2, ch.= 5, “De la conscience.”]
[68. ]That is, the rack.
[69. ]Mézerai, Abr. chron., t. 6, p.m. 413. [Author’s note in the French edition. Probably: François Eudes de Mézerai, Abrégé Chronologique de l’Histoire de France (Chronological summary of French History), 1674. Anne du Bourg, counselor of the Parliament of Paris, expressed opposition to the punishment of Protestants. He was arrested on suspicion of heresy, and after a trial and various appeals over a period of six months was executed on December 23, 1559. See “Bourg, Anne du,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), vol. 1, p. 206.