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Part III. - 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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<369>A Philosophical Commentary
Those letters of St. Austin, which contain an Apology for the compelling of Hereticks.
As in the Entrance of the first Part of this Commentary I said,103 I wou’d not dwell on any particular Circumstances of the Text which I design’d to give a Comment on, but confute the literal Sense consider’d in it self, and attack it upon general Principles: so in the Entrance on this Third Part I think fit to signify, that I shall have no regard to any particular Circumstances of St. Austin, of the Donatists, of the Century, or the Country in which they liv’d;104 but endeavor, from the most general Heads of Proof, to shew, that St. Austin’s Reasons, consider’d in themselves, and abstracted from all their disparaging Circumstances, are nevertheless false. It’s nothing to me if St. Austin was formerly of Opinion, that no one ought to be constrain’d in matters of Religion; or if he chang’d his Opinion purely upon seeing the Successes of the Imperial Laws<370> in bringing in Hereticks, which is one of the wretchedest ways of Reasoning that can be imagin’d; it being just the same as saying, Such a Man has heap’d up much Riches, therefore he has employ’d only lawful Means. Nor does it concern me, that St. Austin was of such or such a Spirit, of such or such a Character; nor yet, that the Donatists were a ridiculous Set of Men who separated from the Church upon mere trifles. My design is to examine St. Austin’s Reasons as if they were drop’d from the Clouds, without regard to Persons or Partys; tho I shou’d rather incline to defend so great a Man against those who accuse him of Insincerity and Unfairness in this Dispute. I am quite of another Opinion, and believe verily he spoke as he thought: but being a well-meaning Man, and carry’d away by an overardent Zeal, he readily caught at any thing that seem’d to support his Prejudices, and believ’d he did God good Service by finding out Arguments at any expence for what he believ’d to be the Truth. He had a great share of Intelligence, but he had more Zeal; and so much as he indulg’d his Zeal (now he indulg’d it very freely) so much he fell away from solid Reasoning, and from the purest Lights of true Philosophy. This is the real state of his Case: a Spirit of Devotion and Zeal is undoubtedly a great Blessing, but ’tis sometimes at the expence of the Reason and Judgment; the Party grows credulous, he takes up with the wretchedest Sophisms, provided they advance his Cause; he paints out the Errors of his Adversarys in the frightfullest colors: and if he be of a hot Spirit withal, what ground can he stand upon, what Efforts will he not make to<371> wrest Scripture, Tradition, and all sort of Principles? He’l find his own account in all, he’l strain all; in short, he’l mar all. I don’t think ever any one made a juster Judgment of St. Austin than one P. Adam a Jesuit, let P. Norris say what he please to the contrary in his Vindiciae Augustinianae.105 But as I said before, it’s nothing to me, whether St. Austin was this or that; my business is to examine his Arguments abstractedly from all Prejudices. Let’s begin then and examine the two Letters of this Father, lately printed by themselves, according to the last French Version, by the Archbishop of Paris’s Orders, with a Preface at the head of ’em, part of which we have already confuted in the Preliminary Discourse; the whole is entitl’d, The Conformity of the Conduct of the Church of France for reuniting the Protestants, with that of the Church of Africk for reuniting the Donatists to the Catholick Church.106 The first of these two Letters is the 93d of the new Edition, and the 48th of the old, written in the Year 408. to Vincentius, a Donatist Bishop, in answer to one from him, expressing his Surprize at the Inconstancy of this Father; who having formerly bin of Opinion, that it was not lawful to employ the Secular Arm against Hereticks, nor any other means besides the Word of God and sound Reason, had chang’d from white to black on this important Point. Let’s hear St. Austin’s first Remark.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
I am even much more a Lover of Peace now than when you knew me in my younger days at Carthage; but the Donatists being so very restless<372> as they are, I can’t but persuade my self, that it’s fit to restrain ’em by the Authority of the Powers ordain’d by God.
Here’s surely one of the scurviest Lead’s that ever was seen, and the most capable of begetting a Suspicion of St. Austin’s Honesty: for this plainly is talking like a Man who had a mind to hide the true state of the Question, who endeavor’d to change the Dice upon his Readers, who is loth to speak out; in fine, who wou’d stick at no Artifice to gain his point. Wou’d not a Body infer from the plain and obvious meaning of these words, that the Reason upon which St. Austin believ’d it lawful to call in the Secular Arm against Hereticks, was the Restlesness of their Temper tending to disturb the publick Peace? If so, ’twas unreasonable applying to the Prince against such of ’em as liv’d retir’d in their own Houses, and gave no manner of Disturbance; this is what might fairly be collected from the words before us; yet this was far from being St. Austin’s true Opinion: he was intirely for making Laws against all Hereticks, even the most meek and inoffensive, in hopes the smart of temporal Punishments might oblige ’em to come over into the Unity of the Church; and had he not bin of this Opinion, nothing wou’d be more needless or more pitiful than the Reasons which he here lays out with so much Pomp. It’s plain then he has made use of an artificial and fallacious Preamble, or, which to me seems much more probable, fallen into a thought the wrongest, and the most opposite in the World<373> to the Justness of one who knows how to write and reason solidly.
For did ever any one doubt, that it was the Duty of Princes to enact wholesom Laws against Hereticks who disturb the publick Peace, who are of a turbulent persecuting Spirit, and so forth? Did ever any one doubt, but the best Men may and ought to exhort Princes, who are slack in providing the proper Remedys, to restrain such Men by the Sword which God has given into their Hands? ’Tis the Duty of Princes to repress not only Hereticks of a factious, turbulent and restless Spirit, but those of the Orthodox Party too, who fall into the same Irregularitys. What does St. Austin mean then when he says, he thinks it very fitting to restrain by the Authority of the higher Powers, the Boldness of Hereticks in forcing the World, and oppressing their Neighbor? Was this the Point in question? Cou’d any one have the least ground to wonder at this Father’s being of such an Opinion? Is there any need of writing Apologys in defence of it? Nothing therefore cou’d be more foreign than the laying down such a Principle at the head of such a Work, in which the business in hand was to justify, not any Laws restraining the Insolences of the Donatists, but those directly and immediately enacted against their Errors; seeing they condemn’d ’em all indiscriminately to temporal Punishments, in case they persisted in their Opinions.
This the* Sieur Ferrand, one of the chief Ad-<374>vocates for Persecution, has own’d, and prov’d too by a Passage from St. Austin. He has shewn, That the Insolence of the Donatists was indeed the Source and first Occasion of the Imperial Laws against ’em; yet that there was another, and which one may call the next and immediate Cause, or to speak more properly the principal Motive which inclin’d Honorius to enact severe Laws against the Donatists, to wit, the Horror he had conceiv’d for their Heresy and Schism. The Proofs he alledges are very convincing: for he observes, that Honorius makes no mention of their Crueltys, that his Laws are general against all the Donatists; that he does not say, the Punishments ordain’d shall be inflicted unless they forbear their Violences; but on the contrary, declares he’s resolv’d to extinguish the Sect, to condemn ’em to these Punishments unless they return to the Catholick Church, and inflict ’em as oft as they exercise any Act of Worship in their own way. These Proofs, I say, are convincing, the thing speaks it self; for when the design is only to restrain the Insolences of any Set of Men, the Lawgiver contents himself with appointing Punishments for such as offend, and ne’er means to punish even those who refrain. What rare Management wou’d it be, if to put a stop to the circulating Lampoons and scandalous Libels, the Government shou’d appoint Punishments for those who religiously forbore, either reading or vending ’em; or if to check the mutinous temper of a County or Province, the Prince shou’d threaten to ravage it even when it kept within Duty, and the very Citys within such a District, which never had a hand in the Rebellion? I say further, that had the Emperors meant<375> no more than just restraining the Boldness of the Donatists, and the Fury of the Circoncellions,107 there had bin no need of enacting new Laws: there were Laws enough ready made to their hand, and known to every Magistrate of the Empire, against Robbers, Ruffians, against all in general who exercise any Violence on their fellow-Citizens. Nothing more was needful than giving the Judges a Charge to put the Laws in execution against the Circoncellions; as now in Italy it’s sufficient to bid the Magistrates proceed against the Banditti according to the rigor of the antient Laws in that case. For my part, shou’d a Revolution happen suddenly in France, I can’t think there wou’d be any need of enacting particular Laws against those Officers of Dragoons, who had plunder’d the Hugonots Houses: ’twere sufficient to look into the common Law-Books or Statute-Book, under the heads which relate to the punishing Robbers, or House-breakers; and in case they cou’d produce no Edict or Order of Court for sacking of Houses, they might legally be punish’d as Infringers of the most sacred Laws of Civil Society. So notorious is it, that every private Person, who does wrong to his Neighbor, who smites him, who robs him of his Goods, who forces him to Actions which he has an Abhorrence for, is ipso facto guilty of the Violation of the Fundamental Laws of the Commonwealth, and consequently obnoxious to Punishment, without any need of new Laws in his behalf. This wou’d be understood of course, tho there were no written Laws in a State; all Society essentially supposing a Disturber of the publick Peace, and whoever abuses his fellow-Citizen, justly punishable.<376>
But here it will be proper to obviate a Difficulty; to wit, that by a Disturber of the publick Peace we are not to understand those who are an accidental Cause of mighty Combustions and Revolutions in the world: for in this case Jesus Christ and his Apostles had bin justly reputed Disturbers of the State, as they attack’d the establish’d Religion, and set up Altar against Altar, whence infinite Disorders must of necessity have happen’d in human Society. I mean then by Disturbers of the publick Peace only those who scour the Country, plunder Villages and Towns, and rob upon the Highway; they who stir up Seditions in a City; they who smite and buffet their Neighbor, as soon as they have got an advantage of him; in a word, they who won’t suffer their Fellow-Citizens to live in the full and peaceable Enjoyment of all their Rights, Privileges, and Property. It’s evident on this foot, that neither Jesus Christ nor his Apostles were Disturbers of the publick Peace; for they contented themselves with shewing Men the Falseness of certain Opinions, and the Iniquity of certain Actions; they whom they converted became more dutiful and more obedient to the Laws of the Empire than ever, and therefore the progress of their new Doctrine cou’d not directly prejudice the State. ’Twas lawful for every one to continue Jew or Pagan if he pleas’d, nor were they who quitted Judaism or Paganism allow’d to misuse those who did not: Thus it was wholly in the World’s power to be as much at peace under these new Preachers as it was before; and consequently the Laws of the Emperors against ’em were unjustly founded.<377> From the same Principle it were easy to shew, that neither Wickliff, nor John Huss, nor Luther, nor Calvin, nor Zuinglius, ought to have bin treated as Disturbers of the publick Peace, tho they brought their Actions against Doctrines which had enjoy’d a long and profound Peace in the world: and unless it were prov’d, that they actually forc’d those to come in to ’em whom they found averse to a Reformation (in which case they had bin more detestable for their Character of Persecutors, than venerable for that of Reformers) the World cou’d have nothing to alledg against ’em upon this particular Article which concerns the publick Tranquillity.
The better to establish my Opinion, I observe, that we must never render a Doctrine odious which we believe false, by exposing it on such a side as is common to it, with that Doctrine which we believe true. Seeing Error therefore and Truth have this in common, that when they make their first appearance in a Country where People are settled in a contrary Religion, they equally occasion Stirs and Disturbances; ’twere absurd to maintain, that they who come to preach an erroneous Doctrine are punishable, for this reason only, that they endanger the Peace resulting before from an Uniformity of Worship and Opinion; because this Peace and Uniformity in a Country which had slumber’d in Error, had bin altogether as much endanger’d and disturb’d by sending Preachers of Truth and Righteousness among ’em: We must therefore equally acquit Truth and Error of the Consequences which accidentally attend ’em. Whence it appears, that<378> had the Donatists bin guilty of no other mischief than the making a Schism in the Church, which before was perfectly united, the Emperor’s treating ’em as Disturbers of the publick Peace had bin very ill founded, and so had their compelling ’em by violent methods to return into the bosom of the Church. All the Constraint these Emperors cou’d lawfully have exercis’d on the Donatists, was the punishing very severely such of ’em as oppress’d the Catholicks, or who reducing ’em to Beggary, extorted a feign’d Consent to receive a second Baptism. If their penal Laws had had no other view than the restraining Attempts so opposite to the Law of Nature and Nations, and destructive of the most sacred and inviolable Rights of human Society; St. Austin might not only have spar’d himself the trouble of an Apology to justify his Approbation of ’em, but wou’d really have bin very much to blame if he had not approv’d ’em. But as Mr. Ferrand has fully prov’d, the Laws of these Emperors had quite another view, and aim’d at constraining the Donatists to forsake their Sect, from the apprehensions of leading a miserable and melancholy Life. Now this is it, which is not only opposite to Christianity, but even to Reason and Humanity; insomuch as St. Austin’s undertaking the Defence of it is scandalous to the last degree. But let’s return to the Examination of the Letter.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Accordingly we have the satisfaction of seeing several oblig’d by this means to return to the Catholick Unity.<379>
Here’s a fresh Symptom of that Something, I don’t know what, which obliges Men to hide the flaws and faulty sides of a Cause. St. Austin durst not speak out at first dash, that ’twas very fitting to have recourse to the Secular Arm for the obliging Hereticks to sign a new Formulary; this wou’d have look’d odious, if propos’d nakedly and without any varnish: How does he order it then, I don’t say from any dishonest Principle, but purely from the power of his Prejudices? He turns his Reader’s eyes off of this Object, and entertains him with another; which, far from being of a shocking nature, carries its own reason with it, to wit, That it’s fitting and commendable to call in the Authority of the Magistrate, for keeping the Peace against the Attempts of a pack of factious, seditious, persecuting Hereticks. But he betrays himself, or rather he owns the Fact in indirect terms, when he boasts that the Imperial Laws had oblig’d a great many Donatists to change sides. ’Twas for this end then that these Laws were enacted; and ’twas on the Donatists as persisting in their Sect, that the temporal Punishments were inflicted, and not simply as exercising Violences on the Orthodox. Now this is what he ought to have declar’d at first, and promis’d roundly to have justify’d; and then there had bin some meaning and drift in his Discourse; whereas, as it now stands, it’s only a jumble of Sayings and Sentences, very ill plac’d and very ill put together, scopae dissolutae: He ought, I say, to have declar’d, that it’s fit to<380> have recourse to earthly Powers for the obliging Men to change Religion; and then the words cited from him in the second Paragraph had had some color of an Argument either good or bad; for then St. Austin’s Reasoning might have stood thus:
Those Laws which oblige a great many to return to the Unity of the Church, are wholesom and good.
Now the Laws commanding the Donatists to return to this Unity, upon pain of incurring the severest Punishments, have oblig’d many to return:
Therefore they are wholesom and good.
No one will wonder for the future, that all the mercenary Pens employ’d by the modern Convertists shou’d shift and double so often, without ever daring to come to the true state of the Question; when St. Austin, the great Patriarch of these unhappy Apologys, is so loth to speak out, that he’l say only by halves, and as ’twere faltering, what the Substance of the Dispute is between him and the Person he wou’d confute.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
The Power of Custom was a Chain never to be broken by ’em, if they had not bin struck with a Terror of the Secular Arm, and if this salutary Terror had not apply’d their Minds to a Consideration of the Truth, &c.
Here’s the grand Common-Place, and if I may use the Expression, the Hackny Argument of all our<381> modern Convertists. I refer ’em, if they please, to the first and second Chapters of the Second Part of my Commentary;108 and promise, if they answer what’s urg’d there, to confute this grand Maxim of theirs anew. But in good earnest I don’t think they can ever offer any thing of weight against it: for what is there to be said against a thing as clear as Noon-day? to wit, That all who set up for making penal Laws against Sectarys, will plead with as good a face as St. Austin and the Convertists of France, that they intend no more than just rouzing the World out of that Lethargy into which it is fallen, and breaking the Chain of Error by the fear of temporal Punishment? Will they say, that they who turn this Maxim against the Orthodox miss their aim, and consequently can’t make the same boasts as St. Austin and the booted Apostles of France? To this I have but one word to offer. Were the Catholicks of England Orthodox in the days of our glorious Queen Elizabeth, or not? And did they change from Inclination, or from some degree of Constraint? They dare not pretend either that they were not Orthodox, or that Queen Elizabeth brought ’em over purely by methods of Lenity and Instruction: They must therefore own that such Effects as their Violences have upon others, such the Violences of others have upon them. To which I might add this one Question more: The Christians whom the Saracens oblig’d to change Religion, were not they Believers? How then came the Armys of Mahomet and his Successors to make such numbers of ’em abjure? The truth of the matter is this; There are new Converts of all sides,<382> who pretend to be mightily pleas’d with their new Religion: This is one sure way of making their court, and a fair step it is to Preferment.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If a Man saw his Enemy ready to throw himself down a Precipice in the Paroxisms of a raging Fever, wou’d it not be rendring him evil for evil to let him take his own way, rather than with-hold and bind him hand and foot? Yet this frantick Person wou’d look on such an Act of Goodness and Charity only as an Outrage, and the Effect of Hatred for him: But shou’d he recover his Health and Senses, he must be sensible that the more Violence this mistaken Enemy exercis’d on him, the more he was oblig’d to him. How many have we even of the Circoncellians, who are now become zealous Catholicks, and who had never come to themselves, if we had not procur’d the Laws of our Emperors to bind ’em hand and foot, as we do Madmen?
It’s one of the greatest Infirmitys of human Nature, that nothing will go down with Men but popular Notions, and these prov’d to ’em from popular Topicks, which they are so powerfully accustom’d to, that no Reason which is not popular will move; and whatever is so, will perfectly run away with their Senses. Herein lies the main Strength of St. Austin, and of most others of his Profession: They erect themselves an Empire or Palace, inhabited only by Swissers, lofty Common-Places of a popular strain, Simi-<383>litudes, Examples, and Figures of Rhetorick; by these they lord it over the People, they work ’em up and lay ’em again at pleasure, as Aeolus did the Sea by the Ministration of the Winds. The Comparison is very just, for it’s no more than a Puff of Wind which produces all these effects o’ both sides. Let ’em shut up then, and bluster in these Mansions as much as they please; Illa se jactet in aula, Aeolus & clauso ventorum carcere regnet:109 still I shall endeavor to shew that there’s nothing in it more than mere Wind.
Can any thing be thought on less just at bottom, or less solid, than this Comparison of St. Austin’s between a frantick Person bound hand and foot to keep him from throwing himself out at a window, and a Heretick forcibly restrain’d from following the Motions of his Conscience? I must repeat it once again: Had they only procur’d Laws for curbing the Fury and Insolence of the Donatists, and punishing the Injurys done by ’em to the Catholicks, for example, by condemning those to the Gallys who beat a Catholick, or rob’d him of his Goods; nothing were more commendable, nor had it bin at all necessary to fly for succor to the Comparison alledg’d: but the Question in dispute was concerning the Justice of certain Laws which decreed Servants and Laborers to the Bastinade, to Whipping, to the Forfeiture of a third part of their Wages; and the better sort to Fines which utterly ruin’d ’em, which alienated and transfer’d Estates upon the death of the Father into other Familys, with Clauses incapacitating ’em from buying or selling, or giving a night’s lodging to the dearest Friend; depriving others of<384> all their Estate movable and immovable, and condemning others to perpetual Banishment. These were the Laws which ty’d down the Donatists; with these Chains they were drag’d into the Communion of other Christians, and kept from leaving: which, according to St. Austin, was doing ’em much a greater service than one does a frantick Person, by binding him hand and foot for fear he shou’d throw himself down a Precipice. A very lame unexact Comparison! because to save the Life of a Madman, who is ready to throw himself down a Precipice, it’s wholly indifferent whether he consent or no; he’s equally preserv’d from the danger with or without his consent, and therefore a wise and charitable Act it is to frustrate his Intentions, and bind him tightly if need be, how great a reluctance soever he shews: but as to the Heretick, there’s no doing him any good with regard to Salvation except his Consent be had. They may please themselves with bringing him by force into the Churches, with making him communicate by force, with making him say with his lips, and give under his hand while the Cudgel is over head, that he abjures his Errors, and embraces the Orthodox Faith; so far is this from bringing him nearer to the Kingdom of Heaven, that on the contrary it removes him farther from it. Where the Heart is not touch’d, penetrated and convinc’d, the rest is to no purpose; and God himself cannot save us by force, since the most efficacious, and the most necessitating Grace, is that which makes us consent the most intirely to the Will of God, and desire the most ardently that which God desires. How much Illusion then, and how much childish Sophi-<385>stry is there in pretending that a Man may be sav’d from Hell, and put in the road to Heaven, by such another Expedient, as that by which we preserve a Man in a raging Fever, when upon the point of throwing himself down a Precipice? The only way of saving a Man who drives full-speed and with a mighty zeal in the road to Hell, is by changing his Passion for the road he is in, and inspiring him with a love for the quite contrary road: and generally speaking, neither Banishment, nor Prisons, nor Fines, are of any service in this respect. They may indeed prevent his doing that outwardly which he was accustom’d to do, but never prevent his acting the same things inwardly; and ’tis in this part of him that the strongest and deadliest Poison lies. That Saying of a Latin Poet, Invitum qui servat idem facit occidenti,110 is ne’er so true as with regard to Persecutors. The pains they take to prevent a Heretick’s running headlong to what they call Death, and the violence they do him, are worse than if they actually slew him.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
You’l tell me, there are those on whom we don’t gain an inch of ground by these methods; I believe it: but must we forgo the Medicine, because there are some incurable Patients?
If the Donatist propos’d this Objection as weakly as St. Austin represents, he was but a poor Reasoner. Why wou’d not he represent to this Father the Effects which the Persecutions of the Pagans had in St. Cyprian’s days, that of<386> the Emperor Constantius, and the Vigilance of Pliny the younger in his Government of Bythinia? Is it not well known, that very great numbers sunk under the Trials of those days; and ought not one to conclude from thence, that violent methods are very capable of making the Body comply with what the Conscience inwardly disavows, and of filling the persecuting Society with multitudes of the Worldly-minded, Covetous, Hypocrites, Temporizers, whose lot had faln in the persecuted Party? And this being incontestable when fairly reflected on, it’s plain that St. Austin’s second Comparison is not a jot happier than the first. I shall readily grant him, that a Remedy, whose good Effects have bin often experienc’d, ought not to be laid aside because it does not recover every Patient: yet that such an Application as has turn’d a thousand times to the rankest Poison, and which is the ordinary recourse of the Enemys of Truth, by which they overwhelm its Followers, shou’d be taken up by Truth as a sovereign Remedy against Error; is certainly against all the Rules of good Sense, and the Precepts of Wisdom. Besides, that St. Austin supposes the thing in question, to wit, that Persecution is in effect a Remedy. The only Proof he alledges, is, that it had converted many a Donatist. But 1. how was he sure that these were all so many Donatists truly converted? 2. This pretended Medicine, had it not kill’d great numbers of the Orthodox under the former Persecutions? 3. If its medicinal Power was discover’d only by the Event, at least it must be own’d that the Experiment was rash; and yet<387> he praises those who had ventur’d to administer it, before its Effects were known.
I must offer one Remark in this place, which to me seems of some weight. He who makes but the least use of his Reason, is very capable of knowing that all Remedys ought to be adapted to the Nature of the Disease; consequently Error being a Distemper of the Soul, requires Applications of a spiritual nature, such as Argument and Instruction. Revelation, far from contradicting this Maxim, confirms and recommends it powerfully: He therefore who makes use of this kind of Remedy towards those in Error, has done his duty; and if he has not bin able to convert Men by this means, he may safely wash his hands of ’em; he has acquitted himself in the sight of God of the Blood of these Men, and may commit the whole matter to him. Now if after all Arguments and Instructions, our Reason shou’d suggest an Expedient which appear’d proper for recovering a Man from his Heresy, what must be done in this case? I answer, that if the Expedient be a thing in its own nature indifferent, and which if the worst came to the worst cou’d have no ill consequence, he ought forthwith to try it: but if it be a thing pernicious in its Consequences, and tending to force into a Crime the Person for whose sake it was employ’d, I maintain, that in this case it were a very great Sin to use it. Now all Laws condemning Men to very heavy Punishments who won’t change their Religion, are of this nature: for it can’t be deny’d but the taking from a Man the Patrimony of his Ancestors, or the<388> Estate he has acquir’d with the Sweat of his Brow, is downright Robbery; or that a Prince who did as much, who went for example to a Fair, and order’d all the Goods and Merchandizes to be swept away, merely because so was his Will and Pleasure, wou’d be guilty of Rapine and Robbery. The taking away a Man’s Goods and Liberty then, and condemning him to Banishment, are not Actions indifferent in their own nature; they are necessarily Crimes if committed against an innocent Man: and I’m confident ’twill be granted me, that if all the Laws made against the Donatists had bin made against a Sect of Philosophers, who believing all that the Church believes as to Faith and Manners, shou’d hold this particular Opinion, That the proper Object of Logick are Beings not real, but existing in the Mind only; ’twill be granted me, I say, that such Laws enacted against these poor Philosophers, good Subjects and good Christians in other respects, wou’d be not only very ridiculous, but extremely criminal and tyrannical: consequently the Medicine St. Austin speaks of is not a thing in its own nature indifferent; and the best that can be said of it, is, that from evil and criminal, unless directed to the good of Religion, it becomes exceeding good and wholesom by being happily apply’d to this end. It’s evident on the other hand, that it’s a most dangerous Temptation, and that it’s morally impossible but Multitudes must be driven by it to act against Conscience. It carries then the two special Characters upon it which ought for ever to exclude it from the business of Conversion; it’s criminal in nature before it is entertain’d in the ser-<389>vice of Religion; and they who wou’d make use of it find it in the same class with Rapine, Robbery, Tyranny, before they do employ it: and then it’s a Snare very likely to plunge the Patient from a less degree of Evil into a greater. I have* elsewhere shewn what a frightful Precipice they are led into, who go upon this Supposition, that what might be a Sin unless apply’d for the service of Religion, becomes a good Work by such an Application. So I shall insist on this no longer.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Did we only lift the Rod over ’em, and not take the pains to instruct ’em, our Conduct might justly appear tyrannical; but on the other hand, did we content our selves with instructing ’em, without working on their Fears, they’d ne’er be able to surmount a kind of Listlessness in ’em, contracted by Use and Custom.
I’ll allow St. Austin, that the joining Instruction to Threats is a lesser Evil than threatning and smiting without offering any Instruction; but here I shall stick, till the Gentlemen Apologists will be pleas’d to answer, if they can, to what was laid down in the first and second Chapters of the second Part of this Commentary,111 and which amounts to this: 1. That the filling Men with the Fears of temporal Punishments, and with the Hopes of temporal Advantages, is putting ’em in a very ill state for discerning the true<390> Reasons of things from the false. 2. That joining Threats to Instruction with this condition, that if, at the expiration of a certain term of time, the Persons under Instruction declare they’l continue in their former Persuasion, they shall suffer all the Punishments they were threaten’d with in the utmost rigor; is a Conduct which plainly shews there was a direct, tho somewhat a more remote, Intention of forcing Conscience, and plunging ’em into Acts of Hypocrisy. Now this absolutely cancels all the Merit they wou’d have us suppose in this mixture of Violence and Instruction. It’s plain, what lately pass’d in France, where the Dragoons and the Missionarys play’d into one another’s hands, those by ransacking the Houses, these by preaching the Controversy; was a very odd Medly, which savor’d much more of the Stage itinerant, or the Mummerys of a Carnival, than of the Conduct of Men in their sober Senses.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
All those who sooth and spare us are not therefore our Friends, nor all who chastize us our Enemys.* Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of an Enemy are deceitful. The Severitys of those who love us are wholesomer than the soft Addresses of those who deceive us; and there’s more Charity in taking a man’s Bread from him, be he ever so hungry, if while he is full fed he neglects the Dutys of Righteousness, than in spreading his Table with the greatest Daintys to make him consent to a Sin.<391>
Another Common-Place, and poor vulgar Conceit! All the world has heard of the difference between a Friend and a Flatterer. A Friend is not afraid of telling his Friend disagreeable Truths, of reproving him roundly, of contradicting him for his good, and of resisting his Appetites in a provoking manner; whereas the Flatterer applauds him in every thing, and so decoys him into the Pit of Destruction. All this is justly observ’d, and we have reason enough to conclude, that they who love us most are sometimes harsher with us than they who have not the least concern for us. But we must have a care of stretching this Maxim too far. I own it may in some cases be extended to Religion; nothing being more certain than that a Pastor, who is sincerely zealous for the Salvation of his Flock, will rebuke ’em sharply, and instead of sowing Pillows under their Arms, will rattle and teaze ’em out of their lives, in hopes of recovering ’em from their Vices; what a lazy luke-warm Hireling will not do, being fully resign’d as to the eternal Damnation of his Flock, and very loth to make ’em uneasy with a Representation of the Mischiefs which flow from a Corruption of Manners. But shou’d a Pastor behave himself the same way towards Strangers, with regard to their particular Tenets or Doctrines, I question whether it wou’d do so well as a milder Address and exact Civility; Men being much more apt to be embitter’d and confirm’d in their Opinions by harsh Treatment, than determin’d to change and forsake ’em. Be that how it will, still it’s<392> most certain that there’s no arguing from the Liberty of wholesom Reproof, for a Right of inflicting such Punishments as the Emperor’s Laws ordain’d. Reproofs are allowable between Friends and Enemys; and therefore any one may make use of ’em, when he thinks he has a proper occasion: but Robbery and all the ways of Violence are of another strain; it is not lawful to make use of these either with Friends or Enemys, either directly or indirectly. We can neither take away our Neighbor’s Goods by our own Authority, nor prompt others to do it, nor approve those that do; much less may we drive him from his House, and Home, and Country, or procure his Expulsion by the power of others. And therefore how allowable soever it may be in us to thwart and rudely to oppose the unlawful Pleasures of our Friends, it does not from hence follow that we ought to importune the Prince to deprive ’em of their Property, to imprison or banish ’em; and shou’d the Prince do this, we are in conscience oblig’d to look on it as a tyrannical Abuse of that Power with which God has entrusted him. For in the End I always come back to this: If the confiscating any private Party’s Goods were a tyrannical Invasion, supposing him Orthodox in his Principles; and if it becomes a most righteous Action from hence only, that he happens not to be so, it follows that the same Action of a Sin becomes a Vertue from this single Circumstance, that it’s perform’d for the Interest of Religion, which plainly overthrows all Morality and natural Religion, as I think I have fully demonstrated.112 There’s no ground then for maintaining that Banishment,<393> Prisons, Confiscation of Goods, and such-like Penaltys, are as warrantable on account of the Advantages we may promise our selves from ’em, as friendly Reproofs, and a want of Complaisance.
What St. Austin adds, that it’s better in some cases to take away a Man’s Bread than give him some, is a kind of a Simily which will never amount to a demonstrative Argument: for in the first place he ought to have given it this Restriction; That however ’twere a greater Sin to let a Man starve and perish, than to give him a morsel of Bread, even after we had discover’d in him an invincible Resolution of persisting in Error. ’Tis never allowable nor excusable to let a Man perish, how dissolute soever his course of Life may be; and therefore ’twere a Sin in those who had Bread to spare, if they saw him starve for want of it. But this is not St. Austin’s thought: his meaning is, that if Superfluity be an occasion of a Man’s falling into Sin, it’s friendlier to take away this Superfluity, than endeavor to procure it him. But there’s still this difficulty in the case; Who shall take away this Superfluity? Not Persons in a private station; for in them to be sure it were unlawful to seize a man’s Substance because he’s prodigal and debauch’d. Shall the Prince then take it? but I don’t find that this is customary: ’Twas never known that any Man was fin’d, or banish’d, or imprison’d for living high and at a great expence: And shou’d this really be practis’d, as I think it may, for the good of Society, it does not follow that Princes have the same right over mens Opinions as their Actions; because Opinions are no way pre-<394>judicial, as sometimes Actions are, to the Prosperity, Power, and Quiet of a State.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
To bind one in a Phrensy, or awake one in a Lethargy, is vexatious indeed; yet it’s friendly at the same time. God loves us with a truer Love than any Man can do; yet he joins the salutary Terrors of his Threats to the Lenity of his Counsels, and we find that he thought fit to exercise the most religious Patriarchs by a Famine.
St. Austin continually changes the Question; we are not now examining, whether one may love those whom he chastises, (who ever doubted it?) but whether it be lawful to take away a Man’s Liberty and Property, because he does not believe with his Prince in all matters of Religion. Besides, the Example of his Frantick and Lethargick Person, with which he comes over us once more, is nothing to the purpose: We may love these Men, and yet do things which we know will vex ’em; nor do we regulate our Treatment by the Thoughts of what may be pleasing or displeasing to ’em, because we know there’s no need of their Consent, in order to its being helpful and profitable to ’em. But cou’d we be sure, that all our Endeavors wou’d do ’em no good, or that whatever Methods we took with ’em wou’d only turn to their prejudice, unless done with their own Consent and Approbation; in this case so far wou’d it be from Friendship, that ’twere downright Cruelty to bind or waken ’em against their Will. And this alone utterly<395> ruins all St. Austin’s little Comparisons. Imprison a Heretick, pour in a Shoal of Dragoons upon him, load him with Chains; you’l ne’er promote his Salvation by all this, unless his Understanding be enlighten’d, unless he acquiesces in your Will. Now as it’s scarce credible, that the Convertists are quite so stupid, as to imagine, that Prisons and extreme Misery enlighten a Man’s Understanding, and make him strangely in love with the Religion of his Persecutors; one can hardly persuade himself, that these Men act from any other Principle than that of Vanity, Brutality, and Avarice. As to the Chastisements with which God is pleas’d to visit his Servants, they conclude nothing for St. Austin. God, who is the first Mover, as well as the Searcher of Hearts, may make his Chastisements avail to the inward Conversion of the Party: but since he has no where promis’d to send his Grace with the Persecution we inflict on Hereticks, to afflict ’em with sundry temporal Punishments in order to convert ’em, is not only a Temerity and notorious tempting of God; but the proposing the example of God in this case to Princes, is moreover a Degree of Impiety. Wou’d the Convertists take it kindly, that as God exercis’d the Patriarchs of old by a Famine; so the most Christian King wou’d exercise his Clergy, seize their Revenues, and diet ’em with Bread and Water in order to convert ’em? Ridiculous! The World wou’d laugh at us shou’d we say, in case the King of France seiz’d all the Treasure of the Churches, that ’twas an instance of Tenderness for his Clergy, and that he treated ’em at this rate only to make ’em live more becoming<396> their Christian Profession. The World wou’d say, we insulted over the Miserys of our Neighbor; and yet our reasoning wou’d be just the same as St. Austin’s. Another ridiculous thing is, that Opinions only are what Men must be fin’d for in order to make ’em change; but they alledg no Laws, nor instance any Dragoon Crusade for the Reformation of Manners. It is a Scandal and sore Disgrace of Christianity, to tyrannize over Men on account of their Opinions, to call in the Secular Arm against ’em, whilst they think it sufficient to preach against Vice; for never was a profest Convertist of Manners heard of, who sollicited Edicts against Luxury, Evil-speaking, Gaming, Fornication, Leud Discourse, &c. or call’d for the help of the Soldiery to make Catholicks change their Manners.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
You are of opinion, that no one shou’d be compel’d to do well; but have you never read, that the Father of the Family commanded his Servants to compel all they met with to come in to the Feast? Han’t you seen with what Violence Saul was forc’d byJesus Christto acknowledg and embrace the Truth? … Don’t you know, that Shepherds sometimes make use of the Rod to force their Sheep into the fold? Don’t you know that Sarah, according to the Power committed to her, subdu’d the stubborn Spirit of her Servant by the harshest Treatment, not from any hatred she bore to Agar, since she lov’d her so far as to wish that Abraham wou’d make her a Mother, but purely to humble the Pride of her Heart? Now you can’t be igno-<397>rant, that Sarah and her Son Isaac are Figures of spiritual, and Agar and Ishmael of carnal things. Notwithstanding, tho the Scripture informs us that Sarah made Agar and Ishmael suffer a great deal; St. Paul does not stick to say, that ’twas Ishmael persecuted Isaac, to signify, that tho the Catholick Church endeavors to reclaim carnal Men by temporal Punishments, yet it is they persecute her, rather than she them.
There are four things to be consider’d in this Discourse. 1. The Words of the Parable, Compel ’em to come in. 2. The Violence which Jesus Christ exercis’d on St. Paul, taking away his Eye-sight, and throwing him on the Ground. 3. The Conduct of Shepherds sometimes to their Sheep. 4. The Conduct of Sarah towards her Servant Agar. I have said enough to the First of the four, in the former Parts of my Commentary. The second is sufficiently answer’d by what I have lately said,113 that God, being the first Mover as well as the Searcher of Hearts, seconds the Punishments he inflicts on us with the Efficacy of his Grace as often as he sees fit. He thought fit to manifest his Power particularly in the Conversion of St. Paul; he appear’d to him in Person, he flung him on the Ground; in a word, he conquer’d this Soul by a mighty Hand, and a stretch’d-out Arm. But does it hence follow, that Men ought to imitate this Method when they wou’d convert a Heretick? Let ’em in God’s Name, provided they have the Gift of turning the Heart, as the Al-<398>mighty may, at the same time that they afflict the Body; but as they are not thus qualify’d, they shou’d take care how they meddle in so nice an Affair. Punishments in the Hands of God himself, don’t always produce the Conversion of Sinners; they only serv’d to harden Pharaoh’s Heart, tho God manifested his Power on him in the most extraordinary manner. The Punishments he dispenses in an ordinary way, either by the Mediation of Men, or of other created Beings, operate very differently; they very rarely change Mens Opinions about the Worship of God: on the contrary, they rather make the better sort more zealous in their own Religion; for which reason there being such a Probability, that temporal Punishments shall ne’er persuade a Man of the Falseness of his Religion, but rather of his want of Zeal for it, nothing can be more absurd than proposing the Conduct of God in chastising his Children for their good, as a rule for Princes. Besides that if once we stick by this example, ’twill follow, that Princes may from time to time set fire to Fields of Corn, to the Hay and Vines, and Woods of their Subjects, and send their Officers thro all their Dominions to decimate the Children, and send away their Fathers and Mothers to the Mines and Gallys. For as God sometimes makes use of Pestilence and Famine, those Scourges of his Wrath, to express his Love towards his Children, in order to bring ’em to Repentance; so Kings, who are his Vicegerents on Earth, may by the advice of their Clergy do all I have said within their Dominions, out of stark Love and Kindness to their Subjects; and from a Prospect of making ’em<399> look home to themselves, and awake out of that Lethargy and Death of Sin in which they lie bury’d. Did Kings really do this, wou’d not they find their Justification ready drawn to their hands in St. Austin, and in the Examples of Emperors, who have shackl’d their Sectarys with Penal Laws; not, say they, from any hatred to their Persons, but out of pure Charity, and in hopes of converting ’em? It’s plain then, that the Result of this Doctrine of St. Austin is the turning all Morality into ridicule, since it offers Expedients for justifying the most criminal and the most extravagant Actions.
The Example of the Shepherds, who sometimes drive their Sheep into the Fold with Rods, is as unhappy as that of the frantick Person; for to make it of any weight, ’twere necessary that the counterpart of the Comparison shou’d relate to Creatures void of Liberty, and whose Conversion depended not essentially on a Consent of the Will. They alledg the constraining of Sheep into the Fold, to save ’em from the Thief or the Wolf; the Shepherd, who sees ’em refuse the Door, or not in a hurry to get in, acts very wisely in pressing ’em forward either with his Foot or with his Crook, and even dragging ’em in if there be need. Why is this Conduct wise in him? because it fulfils all the Dutys, and answers all the Ends the Shepherd can propose. His only aim is to save his Sheep from the Jaws of the Wolf, or any other outward Danger; and provided he can but get ’em into the Fold, the Work is done; the Sheep are safe whether they come in freely or by force. But the case is very different with regard to a Shep-<400>herd of Souls; he does not save ’em from the Power of the Devil, he does not heal ’em of the Scab, by transporting the Heretick into a certain House call’d Notre Dame, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, &c. or by sprinkling some Drops of Holy Water on his Face. This is not the thing which decides his Destiny; he must have a sense of his Errors, he must be willing to abjure ’em, and embrace wholesomer Doctrine: thus he may be rescu’d out of the Clutches of the Devil. But if these means be wanting, they may drag him with a Cord about his Neck at the Feet of the Altars, they may cram a hundred Hosts down his Throat, they may guide his Hand to sign a form of Abjuration; they may force him, on pain of the Boot, or of having his Flesh torn off with red-hot Pinchers, to declare a hundred times over, that he believes all the Church believes, and renounces Luther and Calvin: Still he’s in the suds as much as ever, notwithstanding all this Cookery; and what’s yet worse, of an Orthodox Christian, as he was in my Opinion before, he becomes a perfidious Hypocrite, and a Slave of the Devil, unless God in his Mercy recover him from his Fall. It’s prodigious to me that there shou’d be so many Men of good Sense in the Church of Rome, who can’t see the monstrous Absurdity of all these Similys.
Let’s endeavor to give ’em one on our part, which may help ’em to a juster Idea of this matter. Shou’d I see a Man standing at my door in a heavy Shower, and from a sense of pity shou’d desire to shelter him from the Rain or Storm, I might make use of one of these two means; either I might invite him civilly into my House, and pray<401> him to sit down, or if I were stronger than he, I might pull him in by the Shoulder. Both these means are equally good with respect to the propos’d end, to wit, the preventing this Man’s being wet to the Skin: it signifys very little how he comes under my Roof, whether freely or by force; for whether he comes in of his own mere Motion, or upon a civil Invitation, or whether he be pull’d in by main force, he is equally shelter’d from the Rain by one way as much as t’other. I own, were the case exactly the same as to our being sav’d from Hell, the Convertists might justify their forcible Methods; for if the getting under the Roof of a Church were sufficient to this end, ’twere not a pin matter whether the Party came in of his own accord, or whether he were thrust in by head and shoulders: and in this case the best way wou’d be to have a Set of the brawniest Street-Porters in town always at ready hand, to seize Hereticks the moment they appear’d in the streets, and heave ’em away upon their backs into the next Church; nay, burst open their doors with Petards if need were, and take ’em out of their Beds piping hot into the next Church or Chappel. But by ill luck for our Gentlemen Convertists, they are not quite so extravagant, nor so much out of their Senses, as to say, this is all that’s requisite to the saving a Soul: They confess, that the Heretick’s consent to his being brought over from one Communion to another is so necessary, that without it not a step can be made towards saving him. And if so, how absurd is it to compare the Violence done a Man who falls<402> into the Fire or Water, and whom we drag out by the very hair of the head, without the least scruple, with the Violences exercis’d on a Calvinist, by holding a Dagger to his Throat, or quartering a hundred Dragoons on him till he abjure his Religion: this, I say is extremely absurd, not only because it’s naturally to be suppos’d, that a Man who falls into the Fire or Water desires nothing more than to be sav’d at any Price whatsoever; but also because the danger is of such a nature, that his consent is no way necessary in order to the preserving him from it: the Man is equally preserv’d, tho drag’d out against his Will and in spite of him.
But to shew the Impertinence of those who pretend, People are extremely oblig’d to ’em for tearing ’em from a Communion in which they were bred and born, and which they believe much the best, tho the Convertists think it stark naught; I must desire ’em to imagine a Man enjoin’d by his Father Confessor to stand two hours by the Clock at such a door, in a soaking Shower of Rain, and this by way of Penance. If the Master of the House, not content to invite him in, shou’d send out his Footmen to pull him in by head and shoulders, wou’d he do him a Kindness pray, or a Pleasure in this? It’s plain he wou’d not; but on the contrary, do him a very ill Office by interrupting his Devotion: Invitum qui servat idem facit occidenti. The case is the same with regard to those violent Convertists who tear Men from the Exercises of their own Religion. I’m tempted to think, that the cursed Maxims of these Quacks of Conscience spring in-<403>tirely from this ridiculous Opinion, that in order to be intitl’d to the Grace of God, one must be indispensably matriculated in such a certain Communion, and that this is all that’s requisite. In consequence whereof they deal by Hereticks just as Men do with their Cattel when they wou’d save ’em from a storm of Rain or Hail, and with regard to whom it’s all one, whether they go into the Hovel or Stable of themselves, or whether they are drub’d in with a Wattle.
As to St. Austin’s Conceit about Sarah, and her Maid-servant Agar, for my part I think it can serve no other purpose than exposing Scripture to the Railerys of the Profane. For in fine, if, in the way St. Austin intends, Sarah be a Type of the Children of God, and Agar a Type of the Children of the World, what will follow, but that the Children of God may constrain the Children of the World to seek for Refuge in Desarts, unable to bear the Rigor of their Discipline; and yet the Children of the World shall be they who persecute the Children of God. Was ever any thing in Farce or Droll more a Bull than this? I say nothing of St. Austin’s unaccountable mistake in representing, purely to make out the Wedlock of Charity and Persecution; Sarah as treating Agar in a very harsh manner, and at the same time loving her with so much tenderness, as even to desire she shou’d share her Husband’s Bed. The Scripture represents this matter quite otherwise;114 nor does it speak of Sarah’s ill humor to Agar, till the latter finding her self big with Child, grew saucy upon’t, and slighted her Mistress.<404>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
The Good and the Bad do and suffer very often the same things; nor ought we to judg of the nature of their Actions by what either does, or what either suffers, but from the Motives on which they act or suffer. Pharaoh oppress’d the People of God with excessive Labor. Moses, on the other hand, punish’d the Transgressions of the same People by the most severe Punishments. The Actions of each side were much alike, but their Ends very different: One was an errant Tyrant, bloated with Pride and Power; the other a Father, fill’d with Charity. Jezabel put the Prophets to death, and Elias the false Prophets; but that which put Arms into the hands of one and t’other, was no less different than that which drew on the deaths of each. In the same Book, where we find St. Paul scourg’d by the Jews, we find the Jew Sosthenes scourg’d by the Greeks for St. Paul; there’s no difference between ’em if we only look at the Surface of the Action, but there’s a great deal of difference if we look at the Occasion and Motive. St. Paul is deliver’d to the Jailer to be cast into Irons, and St. Paul himself delivers the incestuous Corinthian to Satan, whose Cruelty much exceeds that of the most barbarous Jailers; yet he delivers this Man to Satan only that his Flesh being buffeted his Soul might be sav’d.115When the same St. Paul deliver’d Philetus and Himeneus to Satan to teach ’em not to blaspheme,116he did not intend to render Evil for Evil, but judg’d it an Act of Goodness to redress one Evil by another.<405>
Here’s another new Flight of those little Reasonings which pass well enough in a Croud, where not one of a thousand has the Skill to distinguish where the Comparison holds, and where it does not. St. Austin breaks his heart to prove what no body living denys, That the same Action may be good or bad, according to the difference of Circumstance. If a Prince punishes a seditious Province to the rigor, from no other design than just to hinder its revolting anew, this is an Action of Justice; but it’s an Act of Cruelty and Avarice, if he rigorously punishes a slight Offence in the same Province, in hopes an unreasonable Severity may make it rebel, and give him a Pretence of reducing the People to Beggary. I’l allow St. Austin then, that Moses did well in punishing the Israelites, and Pharaoh as ill in oppressing ’em; a difference which arose not purely from Moses’s proposing, as his end, the Reformation of this People, and Pharaoh its Ruin; but from their being punish’d without any demerit by Pharaoh, and not by Moses. But to unhinge St. Austin’s Comparisons all at once, I need only shew, that he instances on one hand in certain violent Proceedings arising from Aversion, or some other unjust Passion, and compares these with other Actions, afflictive indeed to our Neighbor, but at the same time enjoin’d by a special Revelation from God, and consequently operating under Circumstances, in which the Agent or instrumental Cause might be sure of their producing a good Effect. I speak with relation to Moses, Elias, and St. Paul. These were all Pro-<406>phets, who understood by an immediate divine Inspiration that ’twas proper to proceed in a way of Punishment; and in this case ’twas allowable in them to exercise Severity, because there was no room to doubt but God, who ordain’d the means, had a purpose of turning it to his own Glory in a singular and extraordinary manner. In this case one has an assurance both of the Justice of the Action, and of the right Disposition of the Circumstances, and of the good Success. Can any one say as much for Theodosius’s persecuting the Arians, or Honorius the Donatists? What assurance had either, that God wou’d give a blessing to their Violences, or make ’em an efficacious means of enlightning the Understanding, or turning the Hearts of those in Error? It’s evident they had no such assurance, and that the Probability was much stronger on the other hand, that these methods wou’d rather rivet ’em in their Errors, and produce false Conversions rather than any real Change; so that ’twas the highest Temerity to venture on the ways of Violence in such a posture of Affairs. As to the Case of Sosthenes, I can’t imagine what St. Austin wou’d infer from it; since ’twas an Act of the Rabble, who without the least regard to the Proconsul there present, or the place they were in, rush’d in a tumultuous manner on the Head of the Synagogue.117
I have one Remark more at hand, which will absolutely demolish all these Arguments of St. Austin. It’s plain that the whole force of his Reasonings turns on this Supposition; That when Men treat Hereticks hardly in hopes of converting ’em, they act from a Principle of Charity, a<407> Motive which changes the nature of hard usage in such a manner, that it presently becomes a Good-work; whereas it’s downright Sin, if proceeding from Hatred, Insolence, or Avarice. It’s plain likewise, that the reason which makes Men imagine there’s a Motive of Charity in the case, can be no other than this, or something very near it, to wit, That they look on ill usage as a very proper means for making a Heretick think of getting instructed, and entring on a Search after Truth and the right way to Salvation. So that St. Austin’s Reasoning amounts to this:
Treating one’s Neighbor ill, from a Principle of Charity, is a Good-work.
Now it’s treating him ill from a Principle of Charity, to give him such ill Treatment of any kind, as may oblige him to get instructed and heal the Diseases of his Soul.
It’s therefore a Good-work to give him this sort of ill Treatment.
This is one of the most dangerous, and at the same time the most absurd Sophism in Morality that e’er was fram’d; for by this rule one might justify the most execrable Actions. Shou’d I see my Neighbor puff’d up with Pride, shou’d I see his Vanity fed by a vast Estate, and by an extraordinary Esteem and Respect for his Person; I might safely endeavor to lessen his Fortune and blast his Reputation: To this end I might set fire to his House, invent and raise a thousand Calumnys of him; and if one in a private station might not lawfully do this, yet the Prince may; as St. Austin maintains he may justly keep a Heretick poor, in hopes of awakening him out of his slumber. The Prince, I say, might justly beggar<408> this proud Man, and eat him up with his Soldiers, or get him falsly impeach’d of High Treason, declare him attainted in his Blood, and brand him as a Traitor. Shou’d any one murmur at this hard usage of the Man, we might tell him upon St. Austin’s Scheme, that truly it wou’d be unjust, if proceeding from any other Motive than that of Charity; but since it’s only design’d to rescue the Man from Damnation, into which his Vanity, founded on his Opulency and Honors, drove him head-long, it was perfectly just. I desire no more of my Readers, than calmly and impartially to compare the Effects which Jails, Fines, Chicanes, and a continual Anxiety of Life, might produce on a Heretick, in order to make him renounce his Opinions from Heart and Mouth; with the Effects which the taking away his Substance and Good Name might have upon this proud Man: and I persuade my self they’l allow, that if the Treatment in the first case be capable of changing the Heart of a Heretick, the Treatment in the second case must likewise change the Heart of this proud Man; and consequently he may be rob’d of his Goods and Good Name from a Principle of pure Charity (according to the Minor of my Syllogism) which will become a Good-work according to the Major of the same Syllogism. So that here’s a Sophism for justifying the most execrable Actions; which was the thing to be prov’d.
The more one examines this matter, the more he discovers the Illusion good St. Austin was under. He imagin’d, that as those things which are absolutely indifferent, and left to our own discretion, become good or evil according to the<409> Motive or Intention; so those which are expresly commanded or forbidden are subject to the same alteration, by virtue of the different Motives upon which we act. But as from hence it wou’d follow, that Robbery, Murder, Perjury, Adultery, wou’d cease to be Sins, when practis’d with a design of humbling our Neighbor, and bringing him to Repentance, or in general when practis’d from any Motive of Charity; it manifestly follows, that we must distinguish between Dutys of Obligation, and those which are left to our own Choice. Now refraining from the Goods or Good Name of our Neighbor, not swearing a false Oath, not debauching our Neighbor’s Wife or his Daughter, not smiting, reviling, or insulting him, are all matters of Obligation; and therefore whatever Benefit he may be suppos’d to reap from our calumniating, or from our smiting him, &c. what Benefit soever, I say, he may reap from hence with regard to Salvation, it’s by no means allowable to treat him after this manner. God does not require us to endeavor the Salvation of our Brethren at the expence of his Laws; and we wou’d do well to leave it intirely to his Providence to reclaim ’em if he sees fit, either by Poverty, or Sickness, or Shame, and make ’em sensible of the ill use which they have made of their good Fortune. This altogether shews how much of Illusion there is in this pretended Charity, which prompts us to do evil to our Neighbor with a design of bringing him to good; and consequently, that Princes are grosly misled when they ruin their Subjects, when they banish, imprison, and expose ’em to<410> a thousand Straits and Vexations, under pretence of obliging ’em to get themselves instructed. An Apology therefore for Persecution, built on so rotten a Foundation, can never stand.
There’s only one Case, as I can think of, in which a Man may dispense with the Precepts of the Decalogue in hopes of procuring the spiritual Good of his Neighbor; and that is, where the Party finds himself favor’d with the Gift of Prophecy and that of Miracles, and led immediately and extraordinarily by the Spirit of God. In this case he may kill a Man, as St. Peter kill’d Ananias and Saphira his Wife; he may maim him, he may cover from head to foot with Leprosy and Ulcers, get the Ship cast away in which he has all his Effects, &c. because, as I have already observ’d,118 he acts from the express Order of God, who by the transcendent Eminence of his Nature is exempted from all Rule, and by his Quality of Searcher of the Heart and Reins is able to perceive the Sutableness and Congruity of Circumstances and corporeal Actions, to the Inflexions and Modifications of the Soul; insomuch as there’s no room to doubt of the good Success of these violent and acute Remedys. And therefore it is that St. Paul positively assures us he deliver’d the incestuous Corinthian to Satan, only in order to save his Soul; and Himencus and Philetus, that he might teach ’em not to blaspheme. But as for any Underling, or mere common Man, confin’d within the Sphere of human Knowledg, and incapable of foreseeing what effects Poverty and Anguish may have upon the Mind of a Heretick; for him, I say, to take upon him to spurn the Commands against Stealing, against smiting<411> his Neighbor, &c. upon a pretence that the Party, to deliver himself from Hunger and Pain, will set about examining his Errors, and o’ course perceive ’em; is undoubtedly the greatest Presumption, and the most ridiculous Pretension in the world.
By the way ’twill be useful to observe, that in the case of Moses’s punishing the Israelites he had to deal with a People who were under no Error of Conscience; for they well knew that the Actions for which they were punish’d, were evil and unjustifiable. St. Paul in like manner did not excommunicate Persons who believ’d they had acted aright. The incestuous Corinthian was no such Fool as to maintain, that Incest was an Action commanded or indulg’d by Jesus Christ; and as for Himeneus and Philetus, the Apostle affirms they had not only cast away the Faith, but also a good Conscience: consequently their Error was not attended with Sincerity, as the Errors of those are whom Princes take upon ’em to persecute, at the abominable instigation of Priests and Monks.
I wou’d likewise have People once more to observe what I have said in other Parts of this Commentary,119 to wit, that Men having receiv’d a standing Rule of their Actions from God, are by no means allow’d to depart from this Rule, on pretence of imitating the ways of God himself, or the Methods he makes use of either by the Intervention of natural Causes, or of Men endu’d in an extraordinary manner with the Gift of Miracles. For example, God shall make use of Tempests, Earthquakes, Infections, Hail, Mists, Locusts, &c. for punishing the People of a Coun-<412>try, and awaking ’em to Repentance; or perhaps he shall commission a Moses to inflict all these Plagues. Does it therefore follow, that Kings or other Men may set whole Fields of Corn on fire, poison the Fountains, and create as much as in them lies a Dearth or Sickness, in a Country whose Inhabitants are wicked and impenitent? Another Example; God sends his Apostle a Thorn in the Flesh, he permits a Messenger of Satan to buffet him, and this for the good of his Servant, and most certainly knowing that his own Power shall be manifested thro the Apostle’s Infirmity. Have we now any right of imitating this Conduct towards those whom we see puff’d up with the great Talents which God has vouchsafed ’em? Is there a King upon earth, who hearing of a famous Doctor in his Dominions, admir’d for his Learning and Eloquence, and holy Life, has a right of sending him a Thorn in the Flesh to humble or to mortify him; such as suborning false Witnesses to blast his Reputation in some inferior Court, or giving him a Potion to weaken his Body and Mind? We make no doubt but there are Women in the world, who, thro the special Favor of God, have had the sad mortification in their Childhood of losing their Beauty by the Small-Pox. God who has a love for ’em, and who knows they wou’d make an ill use of their Beauty, and that the loss of this Jewel will engage ’em more intensly to the solid Contemplations of the World to come, disfigures ’em most justly, and from a Motion of pure Grace. May a King lawfully imitate this Conduct? And when he sees a fair Lady pride her self in her Beauty,<413> catching all the Men in her way, and caught her self in the Snares of Love, may he without a crime destroy all her natural Charms? May he in charity hire a Ruffian to mangle her Face; may he send her a Box, which in the opening shall set fire to a Preparation of Sulphur or Gunpouder, and for ever ruin her Bloom and lovely Complexion? May he bribe her Physician to prescribe her a Pouder or Potion, which shall throw her into a languishing Sickness, end in a frightful Jaundice, ghastly Looks, and an offensive Smell? It’s plain he cannot; and that this Prince wou’d make himself ridiculous to all the World, shou’d he gloss such a Conduct with the specious pretence of Charity; as that he design’d to preserve this fine Woman from the Dangers to which her Soul was expos’d, and sequester her from the Vanitys and Pleasures of the World to think only upon things above. There’s infinitely a greater probability, that the disfiguring such a Woman, and throwing her into a languishing Sickness, wou’d mortify her Vanity, and accomplish her Conversion, than that the quartering a hundred Dragoons on a Hugonot shou’d put him in the right way of perceiving he is a Heretick, and of sincerely embracing the Romish Faith. Yet the World wou’d hiss such a Prince, or his Directors of Conscience, who took these methods of converting the Ladys; and yet they applaud his endeavoring to convert Protestants the same way.
I shall conclude this Article with the following Remark; That nothing is more groundless than St. Austin’s Distinction of those Cudgellings, ransacking of Houses, and other ways of Violence<414> which proceed from a Motive of Charity, and those which are exercis’d without this Principle of Charity. True Charity is that which inclines us to keep those Laws of God which forbid Robbery, Blood-shed, and Battery: for by the same Distinction a Prince might innocently set fire to all the Citys in the Kingdom, and every year destroy a great part of the Harvest; still pretending that his Design was to humble his Subjects, who don’t think enough upon God in convenient Houses and great Plenty.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If the being persecuted were always a sign of Merit,Jesus Christwou’d only have said, Blessed are they who are persecuted, and not have added, for Righteousness sake. In like manner, if persecuting were always a Sin, David wou’d not have said,* Whoso privily slandereth his Neighbor, him will I persecute.
I am very unwilling to believe what I see with my own eyes, that St. Austin shou’d apply some Scripture-Passages so much amiss. Who disputes but the whole Merit of Persecution depends on its being suffer’d for Righteousness sake? Who doubts but a vain Man who chose to be eaten out of house and home, rather than acknowledge his Error, and who in his heart convinc’d of the Badness of his Cause, shou’d notwithstanding<415> persist in it in hopes of gaining a Reputation of Constancy and Steddiness of Soul; who doubts, I say, but such a Man loses all the Fruits of his Sufferings, and is besides in a very ill state? To what purpose then shou’d this Father stand to confute so trifling an Objection? There is not a Man of tolerable good Sense, but knows that to be blessed in Persecution, the first and main Condition is the suffering it from a love of Truth and Righteousness; which is very consistent with an Error of Sincerity and an honest Mind. But how wicked soever he may be who draws Persecution on himself, because he’s too proud and stately to retract, or to own to his Persecutors that their Cause is best; still it’s certain, that they are both wicked and unjust. Here then is a Distinction of somewhat a better kind than that which St. Austin gave us just now. It’s possible the persecuted Party may be wicked, but it’s certain the Persecutor is;* for the Passage from David alledg’d to prove there may be pious Persecutors, proves nothing in the Case before us, where the Question is only concerning Persecutions for Religion. David sets forth in this Psalm, that he’l have no Fellowship with the Wicked; and names in particular that Pest of Civil Society, worthy of the Execrations of all honest Men, to wit, those poison’d Tongues which wickedly slander their Neighbor. If David speaks here as a King, he can say nothing more becoming the Wisdom and Justice which belongs to<416> his station, than declaring he’l employ the Authority of the Laws, and the Sword which God has given into his hands, for the chastizing those vile Slanderers, these idle Poisoners of human Society. If he speaks here only to give us the Character of a righteous Man, he means to inform us that we ought to have no fellowship nor dealing with the Backbiter and Slanderer. But how does this tend to authorize the Convertists, who won’t suffer Folks either to die or live in Peace, good Subjects, good Citizens in the main, only because, they have certain Opinions different from theirs? On the whole, can it be suppos’d that St. Austin thought before he spoke, when in this matter he alledges Punishments ordain’d by a King against Slanderers and false Accusers, where he ought to have given examples of Punishments inflicted purely on the score of speculative Doctrines or Opinions.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
The Wicked have never left persecuting the Good, nor the Good the Wicked: but these act unjustly herein, and only to do mischief; those charitably, and so far as the necessity of correcting requires. … As the Wicked have slain the Prophets, so the Prophets have sometimes slain the Wicked; as the Jews were seen with Scourge in hand againstJesus Christ,soJesus Christwas= seen with Scourge in hand against the Jews. Men deliver’d the Apostles to the earthly Powers, and the Apostles deliver’d Men to the infernal Powers. What then ought we to consider in all these Examples? only this, which side acts for the Truth and Righteousness, and<417> which for Iniquity and a Lye; which acts only to destroy, and which to correct.
Here’s a rare Maxim of Morality indeed, the most detestable in its Consequences that e’er was broach’d: for provided you act in favor of the true Opinion, and have no other design than that of correcting your Neighbor, you may lawfully, as to any thing else, imitate the ways of the Wicked; and whereas these shall have committed a Sin, you shall have perform’d a heavenly Action. Accordingly let’s imagine two Persons, the one an Orthodox, and the other an Heterodox. The first sees a great Lord in the opposite Party, very zealous in its cause, and supporting it by his great Riches, his Credit, and good Sense. The second sees such another great Lord in the Orthodox Party. The first contrives how to ruin his great Lord, and starts so many scurvy Affairs upon him, that running the risk of his Honor and Estate, he has not the leisure to mind the Interests of his Party. All this while he has no intention of doing this great Lord the least mischief; he only wou’d prevent his Lordship’s doing any, and bring about his Conversion. Here’s an Action now fit to be canoniz’d, or at least perfectly innocent, if we judg of it by St. Austin’s Principles. It’s no matter if he ruins this honorable Person, by setting fire to his Barns, to his Mills, to his Castles, by poisoning his Cattel, and involving him in Law-Suits, which he’s sure to lose: All this is very fair, provided it’s from no other Intention than that of working on him to get himself instructed, and forsake<418> his Errors. Yet if the other acts against his great Orthodox Lord the same way, he’s a Villain and a Monster. And why so? Is it because he commits Actions repugnant to the Decalogue? No, but because he commits ’em with a design of doing prejudice to the Orthodox Party, and to his Orthodox Neighbor. This, without my mentioning it expresly, must appear to all the World to be a Confirmation of what I have so much urg’d against the literal Sense, at the fourth Chapter of the first Part;120 to wit, That it overthrows that holy and fundamental Barrier, which God has fix’d betwixt Virtue and Vice; and leaves us no other Character of Vertue than the Gain of those who follow certain Opinions, and no other Character of Vice than their Loss. I wou’d not willingly charge St. Austin with having seen this Consequence; but it is plainly contain’d in these Words: What then ought we to consider in all these Examples (that’s to say Murders, Scourgings, Captivity) only this; which side acts for the Truth and Righteousness, and which for Iniquity and a Lye; which acts only to destroy, and which to correct?
One can hardly here avoid thinking of some Maxims of loose Morality, condemn’d by the Court of Rome, under the present Papacy; and truly St. Austin’s Distinction is not a jot better than that of these wicked Casuists, who teach, 1. That one may, without the guilt of mortal Sin, be sorry and repine at the Life of another, provided he carrys it with Decency and due Moderation; and even rejoice at his death, desire and wish for it by a Wish which has no effects, provided this proceeds not from any prejudice to his Person, but from a<419> Prospect of some temporal Advantage to himself. 2. That it is lawful to wish the death of one’s Father by a positive Wish, not as an evil to the Father, but as an advantage to him who wishes, and as it lets him into the Possession of a fair Estate. 3. That it’s lawful for a Son to rejoice even in a Parricide committed by him when drunk, if upon the misfortune of killing his Father he succeeds to great Hoards and a noble Estate.121 These Casuists, we see, make so great a difference between two Persons who rejoice at the death of their Fathers, or even at Parricide if committed in drink; that one’s innocent, if his Joy proceeds not from any motive of Hatred to his Father, but from a Love for himself; and the other sinful, where his Joy is founded on the evil befaln his Father. Is this very much worse than the difference St. Austin makes between two Persecutors: one of which, gives his Neighbor a hundred Strokes of a Cudgel, with a mischievous design; the other lays him on as many, not to do him a Mischief, but purely with a design to convert him? Must not we, to reason consequentially, say in like manner, that of two Men, each of which kills his Neighbor, one from a Principle of Malice, the other to deliver him from Want; the first is guilty of a Sin, and the second not? Or rather, to avoid all Cavil by putting one case more, must not we maintain, that of two Men who kill’d each his Neighbor, one out of a personal dislike; the other, because seeing him in a State of Grace, just after confessing and receiving the Sacrament, he considers, that dying in such a State his Neighbor must go strait to Heaven, and that if he liv’d any longer he might possibly relapse and<420> die in his Sins: must not we, I say, maintain, that the first is guilty, and the second innocent; and consequently, that ’twere a pious and charitable part in the Priest, to knock his Penitent on the head, as soon as he has absolv’d and given him the Sacrament, provided he does not act from any Malice or Rancor, but purely to make sure of his Predestination, by delivering him from the Temptations of the World, which he might afterwards sink under, and possibly not rise again by Repentance. Upon the same Principle, a Nurse or Maid-servant, who strangl’d or over-laid all the Children in her Care, not from any Ill-nature or Cruelty to the Children, but o’ purpose to send ’em infallibly to Heaven, at an Age in which they have not yet forfeited the Benefits of Baptism; wou’d perform a good Action. So that St. Austin’s Distinction over-throws all Morality, and makes the Decalogue the Sport of our Distinctions, our Intentions, and our Caprices.
Two Sons wish the Death of their Fathers; they are therefore sinful and wicked. I deny the consequence, says any one who’l go upon St. Austin’s Distinction: One of ’em wishes the death of his Father, because he is a Pillar of the Orthodox Party, or because he bears a strict hand upon his Son; this is a wicked Child: The other wishes it, because his Father favors Hereticks, or because he wou’d have his Father enjoy the Felicitys of Heaven, which are incomparably beyond those of the present Life; here’s a good and an innocent Child.
Two Men kill each of ’em a Passenger; they are therefore each guilty of a Crime. Hold there,<421> may any one say on St. Austin’s Foundation, not so fast; we must examine, whether they have kill’d in behalf of the Truth, or in behalf of Heresy, to hurt or to reclaim their Neighbor. For if one has kill’d a Passenger, who was an Enemy to the Truth, or purely with a design of delivering him from a languishing Distemper, which might hang upon him for several Years, he has done well; but if the other has kill’d a Passenger, who was a Promoter of sound Religion, or from any personal Malice, he is guilty of a Crime.
Two Men have taken a Purse on the Highway; they are therefore a couple of Robbers, and deserve to be hang’d. I deny the consequence, may any one still insist, I distinguish: for if they have taken it from any of the Orthodox, such especially as freely contribute to carry on the Interest of the Party, or with a design of vexing those they took it from, I allow they are punishable; but if they have stript a Heretick, who was going to see his Lawyer or Attorny in a Law-suit against an Orthodox, which now happens to be lost for want of a Fee, they have perform’d a Good-work: or if they have not taken it out of any Ill-will to the Owner, but on the contrary to ease him of the Burden; or in hopes, by this Disaster, to make him retrench his superfluous Expences, and abate his Vanity.
Thus one might elude all the Dutys which the Law of God prescribes; and before we cou’d say, that a Man taken in a flagrant Adultery were guilty of a Sin, it ought to be known, whether he had bin induc’d to this, not to satisfy his own brutal Lust, but to assuage a craving Ap-<422>petite in the Woman, and assist the Husband to fulfil the too weighty Functions of his Duty to such a Wife: for shou’d it appear, that he had acted not from any formal Intention of prejudicing either the Wife or Husband, or from his own sensual Inclinations, but purely to correct a craving Constitution, and for the common Benefit of the marry’d Couple, ’twere a truly Christian Act of Charity in him.
Is it not very strange, that our Gentlemen Convertists, who so clearly perceive the abominable Absurdity of these Consequences, and the necessary Connexion between those Principles and them; shou’d notwithstanding be eternally telling us, That smiting, imprisoning, pillaging, and vexing a poor Christian, are good Works, provided the Party acts not from any personal Malice, but purely to recover ’em from their Errors? Confess then, say I to ’em, that the same Discipline, how repugnant soever to the Decalogue, shall be warrantable in order to reclaim a Coquet, or rich Beau; such as, seizing their Revenues and Equipage, taking away their best Clothes and Jewels, fleaing or mangling their fine Faces, enlanguishing and weakning ’em by poisonous Potions, provided it be done from a Motive of Charity; or, which is all one in this place, with a design of recovering ’em from their evil Courses.
I might here take notice of St. Austin’s Inaccuracy, in making use of the general and indefinite Terms of annoying and correcting, to denote the different Characters which distinguish the good Persecutors from the bad. For what, pray, does he mean by this? Does he mean, that<423> the good Persecutors persecute only to work Hereticks to an Abjuration of their Errors; whereas the purpose of your wicked Persecutors is to ruin and grieve their Neighbor: Or does he mean, that the pious Persecutors punish in Measure and Moderation; whereas your wicked Persecutors put to death those whom they persecute. If we are to take his Terms in the first sense, ’twill follow, according to him, that Hereticks who persecute the Orthodox don’t act with a design of making ’em change Opinion, and abjure what to these Hereticks appears a capital Error. Now this is manifestly false: for, not to mention the very Pagans, who put a stop to all violent Proceedings against those who pretended to renounce the Jewish or the Christian Religion; is it not well known, that the Arians, and all others in general, whom the Church of Rome brands as Hereticks, never did exercise any Violence on other Sects, but with a design of obliging ’em to embrace their own? If he understands ’em in the second sense, he’s mistaken again, because it’s plain, not only that there are Persecutors of that Stamp which he calls good, that is, which he believes Orthodox, who inflict death; but also because the Heterodox Persecutors most commonly content themselves with Punishments, as moderate as those of the other Class of Persecutors. So that upon the whole, I can see but one reasonable meaning in these Words of St. Austin, to wit, That the end of the Heterodox Persecutors, being constantly that of bringing Men over to an Error; and the end of the Orthodox Persecutors, the bringing ’em to the Truth; these promote only<424> the Advantage, those the Damage of such as they persecute. But this again is characterizing things amiss, and pointing principally at what is only accidental in ’em. It’s purely by accident, that Persecutors who are themselves in error do any prejudice, or that those who are Orthodox do good: each Party have equally a design of delivering his Neighbor from what they deem amiss, and of instructing him in what they believe the Truth. So as we can’t justly say, That the first have a design of prejudicing their Neighbor; their declar’d purpose being manifestly, that of saving him from Hell: and if it happen, that by turning an Orthodox, they put him in the strait way to Hell, it’s purely accidental, and wholly beside their Intention. They are both then upon an equal foot with regard to the Intention; and if sometimes the success of the Orthodox Party’s Persecutions, be better than that of the Heterodox, ’tis purely by accident, and for the most part tends only to make the State of the Persecuted worse, by leading to Hypocrisy and Sins against Conscience. So that, strictly speaking, the Character which St. Austin proposes for distinguishing the good from the bad Persecutions, amounts only to this; that the Orthodox Persecutors persecute for Orthodoxy, and the Heterodox for Heterodoxy: a ridiculous Tautology, of no manner of Service for coming at the Knowledge of that which is under Enquiry!
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
But, say you, it no where appears from the Gospel, or from the Writings of the Apostles, that they ever had recourse to the Kings of the Earth<425> against the Enemys of the Church. True; but the reason is because this Prophecy, Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings: be instructed, ye Judges of the Earth. Serve the Lord with Fear, and rejoice with Trembling; was not as yet accomplish’d.
This Passage of St. Austin, and his Nebuchodonosor122 Type of the Christian Church persecuted, as he ordain’d the worshipping his Image; and Type of the same Church persecuting, as he ordain’d the punishing those, who blasphem’d the God of the Hebrews: is pretty much the same with what the Canonists tell us, That if the first Christians did not take up Arms against the Pagans, ’twas because they were too weak to make the Attempt. It’s certain, St. Austin does plainly insinuate, that had Tiberius embrac’d Christianity, the Apostles wou’d have gone directly to him, and demanded Edicts of Constraint and Vexation; such as those of Honorius against the Sect of the Donatists. And one must forfeit common Sense to pretend that the Apostles, in this case, wou’d not have proportion’d the Rigor of the Penal Laws to the Resistance they shou’d meet with: for it’s absurd to suppose, that Confiscations, Banishment, Dragoonery, Cudgelling, Prison, Gallys, shou’d be agreeable to the Spirit of the Gospel; but not the death Penalty, where the Obstinacy of the Distemper requir’d a desperate Remedy. I shan’t repeat what I have already sufficiently urg’d, against the Inequality of Conduct ascrib’d to the Son of God, by those who imagine his Intention was, that there shou’d be<426> no Constraint, till after such a period of time: I refer my Readers back to the latter end of the fifth Chap. of the first Part.123 There they’l see that this wou’d be exactly the Original of Pope Boniface VIII, of whom ’tis said, that he riggled himself in like a Fox, and reign’d like a Lion: Intravit ut Vulpes, regnavit ut Leo.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
As it is not impossible, but that even among those Christians, who have suffer’d themselves to be seduc’d, there may be some of the true Sheep ofJesus Christ,who soon or late shall come back to the Fold, tho ever so far gone astray; for this reason we mitigate the Severitys appointed against ’em, and use all possible Lenity and Moderation in the Confiscations and Banishments, which we are oblig’d to ordain, in hopes of making ’em enter into themselves.
Observe St. Austin’s Language, while he is only to make the Apology of certain Laws, which did not carry things to an Extremity against the Donatists! Had it bin the Emperor’s Will and Pleasure to condemn ’em to death, he had undoubtedly alter’d his Note, and invented Excuses for it altogether as plausible. And in effect, if once it be suppos’d lawful to exercise any Violence at all, we have no Rule left of more or less, but what the Circumstances of Time, and Place, and Persons do constitute; as I have fully prov’d in the third Chapter of the second Part:124 and a Man shall sin altogether as soon by not carrying the Punishment to the last Extremity,<427> as by not stopping short of this Severity. What St. Austin says in this Place, concerning those stray Sheep which soon or late shou’d come back to the Fold, makes nothing for him; because if they stand in need of Fines, Prisons, Gallys, and such other Punishments to make ’em enter into themselves, and seek Instruction, there’s no manner of doubt but the fear of Death wou’d be still more conducive to this end.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
There is not a Man among us, nor yet among you (Donatists) but approves the Laws of the Emperors against the Sacrifices of the Pagans; yet these Laws ordain much severer Punishments, and punish those with Death who are guilty of these Impietys: whereas in the Laws enacted against you, it’s visible they have study’d much more how to recover you from your Errors, than how to punish your Crimes.
’Twere a hard matter to reckon up all the Errors in point of Judgment, which occur in these words. Let’s remember that St. Austin had said not long before, 1. That the good Persecutors differ from the bad in this particular, that those keep within the Bounds of Moderation, these abandon themselves to Rage and Fury; those aiming only at the Health and Recovery of their Patients, have a care what they cut away; these aiming at his Destruction, ne’er mind where the Stroke lights: those have a design only upon the Gangrene, these against the Life. 2. That altho the Pro-<428>phets have slain the Wicked, as the Wicked have frequently slain the Prophets; and tho Nebuchodonosor Type of the different States of the Christian Church, denotes that Christians under believing Kings, shou’d inflict the same Punishments on the Wicked, as they inflicted on the Christians under unbelieving Kings; yet they mitigate the Severity, and use all possible Moderation: because among even those Christians, who suffer themselves to be seduc’d, it’s possible there may be some who are predestinated. Let’s think, I say, on this, and see how St. Austin will be able to reconcile it with what he says in this place, that all sort of Christians approve the Laws which punish Pagans with Death for exercising their Religion.
In the first place, What will become of this differencing Mark of ungodly Persecutors, that they strike at the Party’s Life, that they lay about ’em without Fear or Wit, and ne’er mind where they cut and slash; and this other distinguishing Mark of godly Persecutors, that they aim only at the Cure, that they only attack the Gangrene: what, I say, will become of these differencing Marks, if the good Persecutors, the Persecutors approv’d by St. Austin, and by the whole Body of Christians, put those to death without Mercy who adhere to Gentilism? In the second place, if the reason why they don’t exercise the whole of that Severity prefigur’d by Nebuchodonosor Type of the Christian Church persecuting, as also of the same Church persecuted, be, that even among those Christians, who are drawn away into Schism or Heresy, there are Sheep who shall soon or late return to the<429> Fold: if, I say, this be their reason for mitigating the Punishments, why shou’d they not mitigate ’em towards the Pagans? Is’t because there can be none of those predestin’d Souls among them; those Sheep which God has given to his Son, and which shall soon or late be brought home to the Fold? But this were strange Doctrine indeed; a Doctrine which must destroy all Endeavors in the Ministers of the Gospel of converting Infidels: For according to the System of Predestination, commonly ascrib’d to St. Austin, ’tis only for the sake of the Elect that the Gospel is preach’d to Mankind; so that its Ministers wou’d not preach it at all to a People, they were assur’d, had none of those predestin’d Souls among ’em. Now it’s plain, ’twas not impossible but Paganism might have had some of those Predestin’d; since ’tis to them principally, that the Apostles preach’d the Gospel: and what are we our selves, but the Posterity of those Pagans who were converted to the Gospel? Besides all which, St. Austin, in this very Letter confesses, that the Laws of the Emperors against Idolaters had converted great Numbers of the Pagans, and converted others daily.
It looks, says such a one, as if St. Austin made use of this Expression; It is not impossible, but that even among those Christians, who have suffer’d themselves to be seduc’d, there may be some Sheep ofJesus Christ; only to signify, that those Christians who forsake the Communion of the Church, are in a more deplorable state than the Pagans. This is what Divines generally pretend: They’l needs have it, that a Man, who having once known and profess’d the Truth, falls<430> afterwards away, is in much a worse condition than he, who having never heard of the Gospel, has likewise never made profession of it. And for this reason it is, that St. Austin ranks it in the number of things barely not impossible, that there shou’d be any of the Predestin’d in a Society of Schismaticks or Hereticks; but won’t speak of it as a thing very likely, or very reasonable, much less as certain. Now if this be a thing which at best is only not impossible, St. Austin must have believ’d it much more reasonable, that there shou’d be Sheep among the Pagans, who might one day come into the Fold, and to whom the Particle even, which he here makes use of, has a relation. But that such a one, who shou’d talk at this rate, wou’d talk too refin’d. St. Austin himself declares a little lower, that they look on the Donatists at a less distance from the Church than Idolaters, and that this is the reason of their punishing ’em less rigorously. But waving all these Subtiltys, who sees not that nothing can be more void of the Justness of a Man of good Sense, than saying on one hand what St. Austin remarks concerning the Character of ungodly Persecutors, and the Reasons for mitigating the Punishments of the Donatists; and on the other hand to approve all the Laws which condemn’d the Pagans to death, for sacrificing to their Gods, according to the immemorial Rites of their Ancestors.
A modern* Author, after having cited a great many Passages from St. Austin, shewing, that he<431> us’d all his Interest with the higher Powers to prevent their punishing Sectarys with death; says, That the Character of the most humane and the best-natur’d Man, can’t be deny’d him without Injustice. But it’s most certain it may, without any Injustice; seeing he openly approv’d the murdering such Pagans as wou’d persevere in the Religion of their Fathers. I say nothing of his approving a world of other Laws, which, tho they did not come up to the spilling of Blood, and to Death, were yet exceedingly hard, exposing to Infamy, Banishment, Confiscations, and Forfeiture of all the Privileges and Advantages of Society; but I must say, he reason’d not the most consequentially, and that there is not the least Justness or Consistency in his Principles. Better tho he shou’d be guilty of reasoning unconsequentially, than of carrying the Cruelty so high, as to demand the punishing Hereticks with death no less than Pagans. Be that how it will, one of the* Apologists of the modern Convertists has bin simple and unadvis’d enough to publish, that all the Maxims of Moderation, with regard to the converting Men, concern the Pagans only, and by no means those Christians who have rent the Unity of the Church; and at the same time to quote St. Austin, with regard to that Constraint which is to be made use of towards those in Error. The poor Man cou’d not see, that if he has reason of his side, St. Austin knows not what he says, and consequently his Authority in these matters deserves to be hiss’d; but that if<432> St. Austin has reason, he himself deserves to be hooted. St. Austin approves Violence with regard to Hereticks, and with regard to Pagans; but with regard to these he approves it even to death, as being farther off from the Church, whereas he won’t allow Hereticks to be punish’d to that Extremity: On the contrary, the Sieur Brueys pretends, that the Church ought to make use of no other means than Instruction and Persuasion with the Pagans, but may punish Hereticks as rebellious Children with death, over whom she has infinitely a greater Right than over Strangers and Infidels; without reckoning, adds he, that the Pagans keep off only because of the Incomprehensibility of the Church’s Doctrines, whereas Hereticks separate from pure Aversion.
What a strange Idea do the Clergy form of Lenity and Moderation? P. Thomassin extols the Gentleness and Lenity of St. Austin, as something very transcendent, because he wou’d not have People dye their Hands in the Blood of the Donatists, but only punish ’em smartly some other way: and it’s well known, that† St. Bernard, who passes for Meekness it self, approv’d the Zeal of a heady Rabble, who fell upon a parcel of Hereticks, and dispatch’d ’em out of the way. Approbamus zelum, sed factum non suademus; quia Fides suadenda est, non imponenda: We approve their Zeal, says he, but don’t advise the Practice; because Faith ought to be infus’d by Persuasion, and not by Constraint. The good Abbot had a<433> Sense on his Mind of the Truth and Holiness of this Maxim, yet cou’d not forbear praising the Zeal of those who violated it most barbarously; and he scarce utters this Maxim, when, as tho he had gone too great a length, he seems willing to recal his words: for he tells us in the very same breath, Quanquam melius proculdubio Gladio coercentur, illius videlicet, qui non sine causa Gladium portat, quam in suum errorem multos trajicere permittantur: Tho there’s no doubt but ’twere better restrain ’em with the Sword, of him, I mean, who bears not the Sword in vain, than suffer ’em to seduce many other Souls to their Errors. In another place* he says, ’twere better indeed overcome Hereticks by Reason; but if this won’t do, they ought to be banish’d or imprison’d. Are not these very illustrious Instances of a Spirit of Lenity and Moderation? Yet let’s rather wonder, that a Doctor bred up in the Romish Communion, tho naturally meek and tender-hearted, shou’d preserve the least Remains of Humanity, than that he shou’d mingle such Lessons of Injustice and Hard-dealing with his Clemency. A modern† Author has handl’d the Ecclesiastical Clemency as it deserves.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
As to the solliciting the Emperors to make Laws against Schismaticks or Hereticks, or to enforce ’em, and enjoin their being put in Execution; you’l be pleas’d to remember the Violence with<434> which the other Donatists egg’d on, not only the Maximinasts, &c. but above all, you won’t forget how in the Petition, by which they implor’d the Authority of the Emperor Julian against us, they tell this Prince, whom they knew to be an Apostate and Idolater, That he was wholly mov’d by Justice, and that nothing else had any Power over him.
These words don’t at all concern me, seeing they are only an Argumentum ad hominem, or a Recrimination.125 The Donatists may have done all the irregular things he pleases, still this won’t excuse the Catholicks, except Sin is to be authoriz’d by Examples. Besides, as I propos’d to examine only the general Question, and the Arguments which St. Austin offers for forcing the Conscience; I have nothing to do with these Retorsions, or Reasons founded on Retaliation. I shall only say, that if I were not under some sort of Engagement to my self, not to charge St. Austin with Insincerity, I cou’d hardly forbear saying, that he here wou’d slur not only little Artifices of Rhetorick, but even downright Sophistry, upon us. For how else can we qualify his saying, that the Donatists, by giving Julian the Praises alledg’d, were either guilty of an abominable Lye, or own’d Idolatry to be a righteous thing? How little does this look, how strong does it smell of the Cavil! Had the Popish Priests, in a Petition to the late King, told his Majesty, that he hearken’d only to Reason and Justice; common Sense wou’d tell us, they did not hereby mean to say, the Church of England, which the King<435> was a Member of, was the rightful and true Church; but only, when the Question was about Settlement of a Dispute, that his Majesty consider’d the Rights of the Parties without any respect of Persons. So nice was the Emperor Julian in this particular, and in all other moral Dutys, that he might very safely be prais’d in a Petition, without the Partys touching upon the string of Religion, or importing, that even in this respect too, he suffer’d not himself to be struck by any other Light than that of Justice. Had St. Austin seen the Elogys of Pope Gregory the Great, on the Emperor Phocas, and the Queen Brunehaud, he’d perhaps have compounded with the Donatists, and engag’d never to reproach ’em more with their Petition to Julian, on condition they wou’d spare the great Flatterer St. Gregory.
Another Quibble of St. Austin’s, at least something very like it, is his arguing, A dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid.126 His Adversarys complain’d of the methods of flying to the Secular Power, and oppressing ’em with the Imperial Penal Laws; and as it is usual to talk in general, or at least in indefinite Propositions, where we take a thing ever so little to heart, there’s no reason to doubt but their meaning was, that it was not proper to appeal to the Secular Power in Disputes about Religion, and that the Church ought not to have recourse thither. St. Austin, willing to ruin this Principle by the Absurdity of its Consequences, takes the Proposition in the strictness of the Letter, and the very utmost Extent; and from it wou’d conclude, that we must never appeal to the Secular Power, not even in criminal Cases, or for the determining Causes<436> purely Ecclesiastical: and as the Donatists themselves had had recourse to it in like Cases, he charges ’em with confuting their own Maxim. But with Submission to this great Bishop of Hippo, he takes the matter wrong; for tho the procuring an Order or Law for punishing a Bishop or Minister who abjures not his Belief, is a very bad Practice, yet it is very proper to apply to the temporal Power for the preventing any Man’s intruding into Ecclesiastical Preferments, and keeping ’em by wicked means; or appealing in any difference arising upon a matter of this nature, which cou’d not be decided by the ordinary course of Law. In a word, it’s lawful to desire the Prince, that he wou’d not suffer a Bishop, whether guilty, or only suspected of a Crime, to be exempted from clearing himself by due course of Law.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
By this time you must, I’m sure, be sensible, that we ought not so much to consider, whether People are forc’d, as what they are forc’d to; that is, whether to Good or to Evil. Not that any one becomes a better Man by mere Force; but the dread of what People are loath to suffer, makes ’em open their Eyes to the Truth.
And I, for my part, shall tell my Readers, that by this time they must, I’m sure, be sensible, we ought never to examine what People are forc’d to in matters of Religion, but whether they are forc’d; and from this very Circumstance declare it a wicked Action, and most opposite to the<437> Nature and Genius of all Religion, and especially of the Gospel. But after all, was St. Austin simple enough to imagine that the Adversarys he then had to deal with, and those which he might have in after-times, wou’d all be weak enough to be impos’d on by this kind of Reasoning? Here it is drawn up in Mood and Figure.127
People don’t do ill in forcing others, unless when they force those, who are in the Interests of Truth, to pass over to Error.
Now we have not forc’d those, who were in the Interests of Truth, to come over to an Error; (for we, who are the Orthodox, have forc’d you, who are Schismaticks or Hereticks, to come over to our side.)
Therefore we have not done ill.
And you only wou’d have done ill, if you had forc’d us.
Is not this manifestly that kind of Sophism, which the Logicians call Petitio Principii?128 To which I can think of no shorter an Answer at present, than converting the Minor in the Syllogism from a Negative to an Affirmative, and concluding the direct contrary. ’Tis in this view of it, that one may justly say of Christianity what Mr. de Meaux wou’d infer from the Supposition of Protestants, concerning the Fallibility of the Church; to wit, That it is assuredly the most helpless Society upon earth, the most expos’d to incurable Divisions, the most abandon’d to Innovators and factious Spirits:129 For if they who have the Truth of their side may lawfully exercise Violence against all other Religions, behold a Right in being which shall be challeng’d by all the Sects, and which each shall exert with precisely the<438> same Reason and Excuses for so doing, without a possibility of ever applying any other Remedy to such an Evil, than the discussing all the Controversys between ’em from the very Source and Beginning; a Discussion which wou’d take up the Life of Methusalem upon any one Article. So that if, under an Impossibility of mutually convincing each other, they won’t consent to the common Laws of Society and Morality; I mean to abstain from Robbery and Murder, and other ways of Violence with regard to one another; it’s impossible but Christianity shou’d be a Scene of Blood, and a continual Source of Civil War and Violence.
As to that Fear which makes Men open their eyes to the Truth, I refer to the first Chapter of the second Part of my Commentary.130
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
I cou’d instance you not only in private Persons, but intire Citys, which of Donatists, as they formerly were, are become good Catholicks, and detest the diabolical Sin of their old Separation; who yet wou’d never have bin Catholicks, but for the Laws which you are so displeas’d with.
This kind of Reasoning is so very unworthy of any Confutation in a Philosophical Commentary, that I shou’d truly be asham’d to expose it by all its weak sides: and in good earnest St. Austin moves my pity by his Ingenuousness, in confessing that his Collegues had brought him off from his first Opinion, which was that which I maintain, by alledging to him the good Successes of Con-<439>straint. Just so we find Ecclesiasticks and bigotted Laicks in France, who imagine that all the infamous Practices of the Dragoons have bin amply rectify’d and compensated by the accession of so many thousands of Souls, who are re-united to Popery. These Men must needs be very short-sighted, since they can’t perceive that they reason on this Principle, That every thing which is attended with good Success is just. Whence it will follow, that Mahomet’s Religion and his Constraints were just; whence it will also follow, that a Roman Catholick ought to conclude, that the Laws under Edward VI and Q. Elizabeth were as just as those in Q. Mary’s Reign: and consequently, that Utility being the sole Rule of Justice, things diametrically opposite shall be equally just.
I take no notice of the account St. Austin gives of what the re-united Donatists us’d to say touching the Causes which had hinder’d their Reunion, nor of the Gratitude which they profess’d for those who had bin Authors of the Constraint. Mr. Arnaud has made the Application of this to the Protestants of France, who had abjur’d before the Dragooning: And a certain* Author, whom I have cited in another place, has made his Remarks on him. For my part I wave it, because I only propose to confute the general reasons and grounds of Constraining, not such as are peculiar to the Donatists: if any one will take the pains of applying ’em to all who yield under Constraint, he shall form from ’em a Set of Common-places which shall confute one<440> another; serving as an Argument for the good Persecutors here, and for the wicked Persecutors there, and as a Jest to all the rest of the world, who look on things without prejudice.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Ought I to prevent the confiscating what you call your Goods, while you with impunity proscribeJesus Christ? The barring you the liberty of disposing ’em by your last Testament, according to the Roman Law, while you by your slanderous Accusations tread under foot the Testament which God himself has made in favor of our Fathers, &c.?
St. Austin runs on here in seven or eight Antitheses or Clenches of this kind, which may be alledg’d by all sort of Persecutors more or less; for each supposes that the Party it persecutes are Enemys to God: so that if this Supposition is a sufficient ground for persecuting, we are all ready arm’d at all seasons against one another, and always with the same pretence. To say, that only they who can reasonably make the Supposition, have a right to persecute, is saying nothing; because till such time as the ungodly Persecutors are made sensible that they believe they act upon a sure bottom, but really do not, they’l persecute without remorse: so that this will be only wrangling about the main thing in dispute, and not assuaging that horrible Storm which shall overwhelm here the true Church, there the false, and every where occasion a Concatenation of Insult, Cruelty, Sacrilege, and Hypocrisy:<441> Not to insist, that one may turn all these fine Antitheses upon the Catholicks who lead wicked Lives, upon the Slanderers, the Covetous, the Tiplers, &c. Shou’d Princes think fit to seize their Estates, or hinder their disposing of ’em to their Children, might not any one say in defence of such a Proceeding, Why shou’d you think it hard to be deny’d the Privilege of making your last Will and Testament, when by your disorderly courses you shew so little regard for your heavenly Father’s Testament?
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If there be any among us who abuse the Laws which the Emperors have enacted against you (Donatists) and who make ’em a handle for exercising their private Spite, instead of employing ’em as an instrument and means of Charity to rescue you from Error; we disapprove their Proceedings, and think of ’em with grief. Not that any Man can call this or that thing his Property, at least unless entitled to it by a divine Right, by the which all belongs to the Just; or by a Right founded on human Laws, and which depends on the Pleasure of the temporal Powers: so that you, for your parts, can call nothing your own, because not entitled to it, as being of the number of the Just, and because the Laws of the Emperors deprive you of all: consequently you can’t properly say, This thing is ours, and we have got it by our Industry; since it is written,* The Wealth of the<442> Sinner is laid up for the Just. Notwithstanding, when under color of these Laws men invade your Possessions, we disapprove the Practice, and it troubles us exceedingly. In like manner, we condemn all those who are mov’d more by Avarice than Zeal, to take from you, either the Funds for your Poor, or the Places of your Assemblys; tho you enjoy neither one nor t’other but under the Notion of the Church, and tho only the true Church ofJesus Christhas a true Right to these things.
This Passage contains Paradoxes so mysterious, so odious, and so absurd, that it will not be improper to range my Reflections on it in some kind of order.
I. I affirm then in the first place, That it’s a vain Excuse, and a pitiful palliative Remedy, to tell People persecuted and molested in their Persons and Estates, that we disapprove the Proceedings of those who abuse the Prince’s Laws; for beside, that tho no one strain’d or abus’d these Laws, the poor People under Persecution must be expos’d to a thousand Distresses, and the Authors no way disapprov’d by the Gentlemen Ecclesiasticks; so that the Persecuted have no such mighty Obligations to ’em, for their disapproving only the Abuse of these Laws: besides this, I say, is it not mocking the world, to sollicit Laws with Earnestness and Ardor, the Execution of which we know must inevitably be attended with a thousand Excesses; and then think to come off by saying with a grave Air, That we disapprove these Abuses? And if you really<443> disapprove ’em, why, wretched Men as you are, don’t you demand the proper Redress with the same Earnestness as you demanded the Laws themselves? Why are you the foremost in dissembling, in disowning these Abuses, in publishing thro a whole Kingdom, that there were none committed? This I thought fit to remark by the by, against those base mercenary Pens, who speak so soothingly of the late Dragoon-Conversions in France.
II. In the second place, Is it not an abominable Doctrine, tho veil’d with a big mysterious Air, that all belongs to the Godly by a Divine Right? What Nonsense is this? What, the Effects which a Jew has bought and paid down his Mony for, and which he has transported from Asia to Europe with a deal of hazard, and at a vast expence, don’t belong to him; no, it’s downright Robbery in him, and an Usurpation in prejudice of the Members of the true Church? It shou’d seem now quite contrary, that as Jesus Christ had not the common Privilege of Foxes and Fowls, which have Nests and Holes to lie down in, while he had not a place wherein to lay his head, his Members ought not to have had all the Good things of the World shar’d amongst them; yet by this Theology, no less chimerical than the Stoicks’ wise Man, a small Handful of Men, call’d Catholicks, are put in possession of all the Earth, and of all the Goods and Estates, movable and immovable, personal and real, of Jews, Turks, Pagans, and Sectarys. In good earnest these are strange Visions; and at the same time here’s a plain foundation laid for the Pretensions of the Pope over the Temporals of Kings;<444> for if every thing belongs to the Church by divine Right, the Monarchys and Principalitys of the Earth must o’ course fall to his share; and accordingly he may dispose of ’em in the old Continent, with the same Authority as in the new.
III. Yet even this destroys the Alternative which St. Austin proposes: for if every thing be suppos’d the Property of the Godly by a Divine Right, it follows that Princes cou’d not dispose of the Goods of the World in favor of the Profane and Ungodly, without the notorious Invasion of a Right vested in the Godly by the Donation of God. It’s false then, that what a Jew enjoys by his Prince’s Gift or Permission belongs properly to him: for the Prince’s Grant being only a Robbery or Pillage committed upon the Godly, renders not a Jew the rightful Possessor; and consequently St. Austin blunders inexcusably, when he allows there are two ways of becoming the lawful Possessor of an Estate, one when the Party is of the number of the Godly, the other when the Prince makes a Grant of it, or suffers the Party to enjoy it. All he cou’d in good reason allow, was, that the Godly not having force enough to put ’em in possession of all that belongs to ’em, permitted those Usurpers whom Princes had vested to enjoy the mean Profits. And are not the Jews now finely met with for their chimerical Pretensions, the Original and Model of those of St. Austin! Their Doctors maintain, that none but Israelites possess any thing rightfully, and that the Estates of all others are like a Common, which the next Comer may seize on, and become the lawful Possessor; they mean, provided he’s a Jew.<445>
IV. In the fourth place, Let’s not lose the benefit of this Father’s Talent at finding out Expedients: he’s for having all the Godly let their Rights sleep, and be so complaisant to their Princes, as not to take ill that they confirm that Partition, which has taken place in the World from Time immemorial. What will follow from hence? why this, That any Prince who destroys this Partition, without a very cogent Reason, is a Tyrant and a Robber. Every one will allow, that ’twere Robbery, strictly speaking, in a King, to take away a Merchant’s fine Stuffs and Silks, and not pay him the full value. I except one Case, where a whole Kingdom may be in danger, unless some particular Person’s Effects were seiz’d and made use of: But once more ’twill be granted me, that ’twere Robbery in a King to sweep away all the Mony out of the Bankers Shops, and all the Jewels from the Goldsmiths, for his own private use, or for his fancy, without ever making restitution. ’Twere Robbery likewise and Tyranny in him, to take away his Estate from John o’ Nokes or John o’ Stiles, to annex it to the Crown-Revenues, or bestow it upon Mistresses, Favorites, or Buffoons: ’Twere the same, shou’d he do the like upon the pretext of such a Disobedience, suppose, as this; to wit, That the Prince having enjoin’d by a solemn Edict, that all his Subjects shou’d be of such a Stature at such an Age, shou’d have blue Eyes, a hawk Nose, black Hair, shou’d love Musick, Hunting, Books, like such a Dish better than such a Dish, believe firmly that Snow is not white, nor Fire hot, in the sense of the Peripateticks, and that the Earth moves round the Sun, &c. several of<446> ’em shou’d not conform to his Will: I say then, that shou’d a Prince punish Disobediences of this nature by Confiscation, Fines, or by a general Change in the Settlements and Freeholds within his Dominions, he’d be a most unjust Tyrant, and might be said to rob his Subjects of their lawful and rightful Property. Whence it follows, as I have prov’d at large in another* place, that to the end a Disobedience be justly punishable by loss of Goods, it’s necessary the Law disobey’d be just; at least that it be of such a nature, that the disobeying can only proceed from Perverseness or inexcusable Neglect. Now as all Laws ordaining the Belief of this or that in the Worship of God, or of doing this or that in discharge of the Dutys of Religion, are not of this nature; for it’s manifest, that a Man persuaded he ought not to believe concerning God otherwise than he already believes, nor honor him otherwise than as he had bin taught to do in his Father’s House; and who, do what he will, finds himself irresistably convinc’d, that by believing or acting otherwise he must draw on himself eternal Damnation, disobeys not such a Law from inexcusable or unreasonable Neglect: it follows then, that a Prince who punishes a Disobedience to such Laws by Confiscations, Prisons, Banishment, makes a tyrannical use of the Power lodg’d in him; and consequently St. Austin has no ground for saying, that where a Man conforms not to his Prince’s Laws, condemning the Estates of those to his own use who won’t conform, he has no longer any Right vested in him, either to<447> what he enjoy’d by Descent, or to what he has acquir’d by the Sweat of his Brow. He ought at least to have added this Proviso, that the Laws be such as the Subjects might in Conscience comply with. But this is what cannot be affirm’d of those Laws which relate to Religion, and which enjoin one Party of the Subjects to abjure what they believe to be the true and divine Faith. They therefore, who might disobey ’em, continue lawful and rightful Possessors of their Goods as much as they were before, nor can they be outed any fairer than those may be, who obey’d not their Prince enjoining to believe, that such a Sauce was better than such a Sauce, that Mr. Des Cartes had assign’d the true Cause of the Phenomena of the Loadstone, &c. or rather let’s say, they’d be outed with exactly the same Justice, as Naboth was turn’d out of his Inheritance.131
This Example carries something awful in it. Achab, as wicked a King as he was, wou’d come by Naboth’s Vineyard no otherwise than in a way of fair Bargain between Man and Man, that is, by Purchase or Exchange; and even offer’d the Proprietor a better Vineyard in another place, in case he lik’d that better than ready Mony. So far the Conduct of this King was perfectly reasonable; nor is it besides unfair in a Prince, who has built him a Seat for his Pleasure, to desire a larger Garden to it than ordinary, for which it seems Naboth’s Vineyard lay very commodiously: Yet this Man had not the least Complaisance for his King; he told him very drily, that he cou’d not part with the Inheritance of his Fathers; wherein, it’s pretended, he acted from Reasons<448> of Conscience, and from a fear of breaking some Precepts of Leviticus. Nothing less cou’d have clear’d him from the height of Brutality. Achab had no more to say, but left him, and took on heavily. His Queen, tho much the hardier Spirit of the two, yet durst not advise him to seize the Vineyard by his mere Authority; but got Naboth sentenc’d to death upon another pretext, to wit, that of blaspheming God and the King: and so the Vineyard fell to Achab. There’s no doubt, had the King, upon the refusal of the Proprietor to comply with his Proposal for an Exchange or fair Purchase, confiscated this Vineyard, but the Prophet Elias wou’d have censur’d it as a very unjust Action. An Example which serves to shew Princes, that they ought never to disturb any one in the possession of that Estate which he’s come honestly by, and which he’s entitled to by the municipal Laws, at least unless the urgent Occasions of the State require; but by no means as a Punishment on those who follow the Motions of their Conscience, without doing any injury to the Publick, or to their Fellow-Citizens.
There are very great Men who maintain, that Kings are so far from having a Right of alienating or transferring Estates at pleasure from one Family to another, or impoverishing those to enrich these, that they can’t justly lay even a Tax upon their People without their* Consent. Hear how the famous John Juvenal des Ursins,132 Archbishop of Rheims, speaks in a Remonstrance<449> to Charles VII. Whatever any body may tell you of your ordinary Power, you have no right at all to take away any thing of mine. What’s mine is not yours: In matters of Civil Justice you are indeed supreme, and the last Appeal is to you; you have your Domain, and every private Person has his. John†Gerson says, It’s an Abuse, to tell a King he has a right to make use of the Estates or Persons of his Subjects at discretion, without any farther pretence of the publick Good or Necessity, imposing Taxes as he thinks fit: for to do this without any other reason, were playing the Tyrant, and not the King. The Author of the Maxims, cited in the Margin, proves in the same place, That Princes not only sin grievously, when they don’t prevent, by all kind of means, the Rapines and Oppressions of the Soldiery; but also that they are in Conscience oblig’d to repair the Losses and Damage which their Subjects sustain by the Army. And truly, continues he, I wonder this Point shou’d be so much neglected, and that Confessors and Directors of Conscience shou’d have so much Complaisance; as in matters of such importance, and so very notorious, to be loth to grieve the Souls under their direction, by injoining the proper Penance. A fine Lecture, not only for the Molinist Confessors of Kings, but also for St. Austin, Molina’s Antipode!133 St. Austin, I say, who vends the most corrupt Morality that can be imagin’d, to wit, that whenever a Prince thinks fit to issue Edicts relating to Religion, and constraining the Conscience of the Subject by Fines and Confiscations, they who don’t obey forfeit all Right to their Estates and Inheritances;<450> which consequently may become as much a Prey to the Soldiers, if the Prince delivers it into their hands, as to any other.
V. But in the fifth place, Who can forbear admiring this Father’s Application of Scripture-Passages, as if Solomon, in foreshewing that the Riches of the Wicked shou’d not long abide in their Familys, but become the Possession of the Righteous, had meant this in a way of Seizure and arbitrary Confiscation? Does not every one see, that all these fine Sentences of Scripture relate not to those who err in matters of Religion, but to those who are guilty of Immoralitys; else what had become of all the Riches out of the Borders of Judea, since no one abroad was in the true Religion, to whom, according to the Principles of these Convertists, they ought to be bestow’d. What Godly were there in Persia, in Greece, in Italy, &c. to possess the Wealth which the Ungodly in these Countrys had heap’d up? It’s a mere Chimera then, to appropriate to what they call Orthodoxy, that which is promis’d only to Uprightness and Honest-dealing. Is it that there’s no sound Morality out of the Pale of that Society which St. Austin believes the Orthodox? Another Chimera! We believe the Papists in an Error, and they believe the same of us; yet they and we wou’d be errand Fools to fancy, they, that there were no vertuous People among us, and we, that there are none among them.
VI. In the sixth place, Let’s admire St. Austin’s Good-nature: He approves with all his heart the Laws which deprive the Donatists of their Estates, and disapproves the Proceedings of the Catho-<451>licks who seize upon these Estates. This is pleasant enough, to blame him who executes, and praise him who enjoins the Execution of the Law.
VII. What he says in the last place, That the Churches of the Donatists, and the Funds for the Maintenance of their Sick and Poor, belong’d to the true Church, is so wretched, that I scorn to confute it. Is not there a Right of Nature and Nations for founding Hospitals; is it not a necessary Emanation of all Society, and an inseparable Appanage of incorporated Humanity? May not every State, Kingdom, Commonwealth, consecrate certain Sums for the Subsistence of their indigent Poor, and of all other Poor; and certain Places for celebrating the Ceremonys of Religion: and must these Endowments belong o’ course to the Christian Religion? What, do all the Mosks of Constantinople belong to the Christians? And had they power enough to seize ’em in spite of the Turks, might and ought they to do it, together with all the Revenues of the Mahometan Religion? In good truth, this is rendring Christianity justly odious; and on such Maxims as these, Infidels ought to look on the Christian Missionarys only as so many Spys, thrusting in to prepare the way for an Attempt on their temporal Possessions, upon a persuasion that all the rest of Mankind are Usurpers, who with-hold their Birthright from ’em, tho they very often have not as much as heard that there are Christians in the world.<452>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
But tho you will always be complaining of this kind of Treatment, you find it a hard matter to prove it upon any one; and tho you shou’d, it is not always in our power to correct or punish those you complain of, and we are sometimes oblig’d to tolerate ’em.
This is the very Answer now-adays to the Complaints of the French Protestants. Let ’em prove, say they, from the Tenor of the Edicts or Injunctions, that they were pinch’d, cudgel’d, kept awake, &c. they can’t do it: But why? because the Convertists gave only verbal Instructions on these heads. They were not such Fools, as to leave it in any one’s power, to preserve publick Monuments, to all Generations and all Ages to come, of their pernicious Maxims, ever impregnated and stain’d thro with Insincerity and Perfidiousness. But there are other as authentick Proofs, besides those taken from an Act of State enrol’d and recorded. As to the necessity of tolerating those Excesses, I say it over and over, that the Excuse is frivolous: They might have prevented ’em if they wou’d, or if they cou’d not, they might at least have punish’d some of the Authors for a terror to the rest; nothing had bin easier than this. Lewis XIV is so absolute in his Dominions, and so punctually obey’d, that we may truly apply to him in an eminent manner that Saying of the Historian Nicetas: Nihil est quod ab Imperatoribus emendari non queat, nec ullum peccatum quod vices eorum su-<453>peret, & quicquid permittunt facere videntur.134
Henceforward let’s see what is to be seen in St. Austin’s Letter to Boniface. It’s the 185th in the new Edition, and was the 50th in the old. ’Twas wrote about the Year 417.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
When Nebuchodonosor ordain’d, That whoever blasphem’d the Name of the God of the Hebrews, shou’d be destroy’d with his whole House; had any of his Subjects incur’d the Punishment, by the violating this Law, cou’d they have said, as these (Donatists) do now, that they were righteous, and alledg’d the Persecution by the King’s Authority, as a Proof of their Innocence.
Since an occasion fairly presents of speaking of this Edict of Nebuchodonosor, St. Austin’s favorite Model, and the Type, as he imagines, of the Christian Church, under the Christian and under the Persecuting Emperors; it mayn’t be amiss in this place to shew, that this is not a fit Model to be follow’d. In order hereunto, it is necessary we observe these two things; first, That the Pagan Religion admitting a plurality of Gods, and supposing, that those which were never before ador’d or known, might make themselves so conspicuously known in due time, that it wou’d be for the Interest of the establish’d Religion to take ’em in; the Pagan Princes had not the same Reasons against making Laws, for obliging People in matters of Religion, as the Christian Princes had: and when<454> they did make such, they had much juster grounds to believe, that the Dissenters were Men of factious Principles, who differ’d not upon any Motives of Conscience. I’l suppose, that the Babylonians had a contempt for the Divinity which was worship’d in Judea; but after this Divinity had once manifested its Power in the Miracle of the fiery Furnace, ’twas very highly probable, that they wou’d make no scruple of speaking of it with Esteem, and of thinking, that it had a Sway in the World as well as the rest, and the means of protecting its Votarys. So as the Court might reasonably judg, that whoever comply’d not with these Sentiments when notify’d by the Royal Injunctions, was a seditious Spirit, and a Brute who deserv’d to suffer the threaten’d Punishment. In the second place we are to observe, that the Law of the King of Babylon impos’d not a necessity on People, of paying any Worship to the God of the Hebrews; but only of abstaining from all reviling and blasphemous Expressions against him, which it is very easy to conform to, how much persuaded soever the Party may be of the Falseness of his Worship; for no sober Man is in Conscience oblig’d to ridicule or sing Ballads in the Streets, or elsewhere, upon the Divinity of the Country where he is tolerated: all that he is in Conscience oblig’d to, is offering his Reasons against this or that Worship with Modesty, Calmness, and Honesty.
By this we perceive the great difference between this Law of Nebuchodonosor, and the Laws lately enacted in France, and in a hundred other Countrys for several Ages past; forasmuch as these concern Christians instructed in the Unity<455> of one holy Religion, and persuaded that God will damn all those, who shall depart from the way which he has mark’d out in his Word; and ordain, not only that all Men demean themselves fittingly towards the establish’d Religion, but likewise make open Profession of it, and declare it the only true.
But I shall make no scruple to say, pursuant to what I have so often prov’d and explain’d, That had any Babylonian, convinc’d in his Conscience, that the God of the Hebrews was a false God, declar’d so much before the proper Judges, who enjoin’d him upon Oath, to speak his Thoughts; or had he done this from a Persuasion, that this Religion requir’d his making such an open Declaration, and bin punish’d for it with Death: the King of Babylon had actually committed an unjust Action, seeing that he had usurp’d a Right over Conscience, which did not belong to him, and for the exercise of which he had no special Vocation, such as that of Moses. And this more and more discovers St. Austin’s want of Judgment in the choice of so many Examples, which he has collected with so happy a Memory. But to answer the drift of ’em in this place, and to confine my self precisely to the point under Consideration in this passage, I shall repeat what I have already insinuated in another place;135 to wit,
That if he has any ground for censuring the Reasonings of the Donatists, upon their pretending, that the Persecutions they endur’d were an Argument of their being the People of God, we have ground enough at least to say, that they who persecuted ’em were guilty of an ill Action,<456> and so far were estrang’d from the Nature and Essence of all true Religion, and principally of the Christian.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Was not Agar persecuted by Sarah? Yet she that persecuted was holy, and she who suffer’d Persecution was wicked.
Still the same Illusion, of confounding Punishments inflicted for Crimes of a moral Nature, with those inflicted for Opinions of Religion! What shou’d we say to one who went about to prove the Lawfulness of persecuting Protestants, from the Practice in all well-order’d Commonwealths of persecuting Highway-men, and raising the Country upon ’em; and who shou’d add, that as in this instance the Persecuted are wicked, and the Persecutors the Ministers of Justice, so likewise are the persecuted Protestants wicked, and their Persecutors good Men and true? We shou’d only laugh at such piteous Reasoning. To be frank, the example here alledg’d of a good Woman, pious indeed and vertuous in the main, but not altogether free from Fits of Jealousy, and domestick Ill-humor, or the Freaks which a too saucy Maid might easily work her to; is not a jot more to the purpose. Sarah was a Saint, I allow, but not as she persecuted Agar: ’twas not her Goodness which operated in this occasion, but her Jealousy, her Chagrin, her Spite, her Spleen; in a word, the Failings of the Sex, supported, if you please, by a Right she had of not keeping a Maid in her Family, who had us’d her ill.<457>
I have already taken notice of an Equivocation which runs thro St. Austin’s Letter, while he confounds the Accusations given in against a Bishop for his Vices, or want of Ordination, with Punishments inflicted for Opinions. He makes use of this Equivocation, to prove Injustice upon the Donatists from their own Principles; for, says he, they had persecuted Cecilian, and yet they say it’s never lawful to persecute. A weak Retorsion,136 consider’d in the general; since there’s so vast a difference between accusing a Man, or endeavoring to convict him of Crimes, which he denys; and punishing him for Opinions, which he does not deny, and which he rather glorys in. But having spoke to this point already,137 I shan’t insist on it any longer, tho St. Austin wou’d beat it into us by saying the same thing over and over.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If the Good may not persecute, and if they are only to suffer Persecution, he was neither a good Man nor a Saint, who speaks thus in the 17th Psalm, I will persecute my Enemies, I will pursue them and attack them and will give them no Rest &c.
Still a falser Application than any of the former! for David speaks in this place only of his Military Exploits, and of a Victory gain’d by him over his Enemys. I must own, that if once Abraham pursuing the four Kings who had spoil’d Sodom, Joshuah destroying the Canaanites, David winning the Battel against the Philistines,<458> &c. be Precedents for Persecution in Religion, we shall every where find enough ready to our hand; but at the same time, who can forbear mocking or murmuring, to see Scripture wrested at this rate, or apply’d so very injudiciously.
St. Austin’s Description of the Fury of the Donatists, and the strange havock they made among the Catholicks, is perfectly surprizing, when one considers that the Laws for which his Apology was wrote, condemn only to Banishment, Fines, &c. but what he subjoins, The Church then being reduc’d to these Extremitys, with what reason can any one pretend, that we ought to suffer all, rather than implore that Protection, which God has afforded us by means of the Christian Emperors; or how cou’d we excuse our selves towards God for such a neglect? This, I say, is imposing on us a second time the Sophism, Ignoratio Elenchi,138 which I have confuted at the beginning of this third Part.139 For was there a Man upon Earth who cou’d pretend, that they were to blame in desiring the Emperor to restrain all the Murderers and Incendiarys in the Sect of the Donatists? Was not the whole Complaint concerning those Laws alone, which reach’d the peaceable Party among ’em, and which punish’d ’em purely on the score of Religion? Why then wou’d he change the Dice so grosly, upon all intelligent Readers, tho with slight enough for those who were strongly prepossess’d or void of Penetration?
I don’t know whether I might venture to say, that there’s ground to think the Catholicks exaggerated things very much, when they describ’d the Fury of the Donatists; for one can hardly comprehend how Honorius, with all his Softness,<459> shou’d be quite so patient, especially when sollicited so earnestly by the Churchmen. But this is constantly the way of those who are the strongest Side, and of those who persecute: They extenuate their own Severitys as much as possible, and even ballance ’em with Accounts of the Long-suffering and Patience, which they pretend they had exercis’d. They describe the Persecuted with all the Arts of Rhetorick, as guilty of an insupportable Insolence, unheard of Crueltys, furious Rebellions. I’m much mistaken, if there ben’t something of this nature in the Account of the Donatists and their Sufferings. The Authors set forth the Behavior of the Circoncellions in very tragical Expressions; and instead of telling, that they were punish’d according to their Demerits, speak only of Corrections, and moderate Chastisements of the Donatists in general. What a disproportion is there in these things? We don’t see in ’em the Highways and publick Places full of Gibbets and Faggots for the Circoncellions, who richly deserv’d these Punishments, if they were really such Men as they are represented; but we see Confiscations, Banishments, and a thousand other ways of Punishment for the Donatists of sober Life and Conversation. How rare a thing is a faithful History among Convertists and their Apologists!
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
The Service which Kings perform to God as they are Men, is one thing; and that which they perform as Kings, is another. As Men they serve him, by leading Lives as becomes the truly Faithful; but as Kings they serve him, only<460> by enacting righteous Laws, which tend to the promoting Good, and punishing Evil; and by maintaining these Laws with Firmness and Vigor.
This Passage may be all allow’d, if taken in an equitable sense; but the Mischief is, that it abounds with Equivocations towards the latter end: for by righteous Laws, St. Austin understands Laws in favor of his own Party; and by Good, he understands whatever’s conformable to his own Ideas; as by Evil he understands what’s repugnant to ’em: So that Maxims so indefinite, and capable of a thousand different Interpretations, according to the different Notions of Partys, offer nothing which is capable of enlightning Mens Understanding, or of putting a stop to the reciprocal Persecutions of the uppermost Sects in the several Countrys. To make these Maxims of any use, ’twere necessary to agree upon some common Principle, for the definition of righteous Laws, for that of Good, and of Evil; and this can only be found in the Hypothesis of Toleration: because then we might say, that righteous Laws are such as tend to the Advantage of the State and of Religion, by means suited and proportion’d to the Natures of each. Whence it will follow, that Religion shall be promoted only by Instruction and Persuasion; and the publick Good of the State only by the Punishment of those, who won’t suffer their Fellow-Citizens to live in quiet. It’s certainly the Duty of Kings, as such, to maintain Laws of this nature with Firmness and Vigor; and as to the promoting the Practice<461> of moral Good, as they can’t with all their Power be instrumental this way, unless they promote the Practice of that which is apprehended as Good, it’s evident that their Duty is limited to the making this Good understood by the Methods of Instruction. Nor can they prevent Evil, unless they previously take care to make it understood to be such: for so long as a Soul takes that to be Good which is really Evil, it will embrace this Evil; and if it be outwardly constrain’d to renounce it, the consequence will be its committing two Faults instead of one, because it must fall o’course into Hypocrisy: So that no other Hypothesis, but that of Toleration, can put Princes in a way of reducing this Maxim of St. Austin’s into Practice. The Reader will find the full Solution of this Passage of St. Austin in the sixth Chapter of the second Part of our Commentary.140
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
One must be void of common Sense, to tell Princes, Take no thought whether People trample upon, or whether they revere, within your Dominions, the Church of him whom you adore. What, they shall take care to make their Subjects live according to the Rules of Vertue and Sobriety, without any one’s presuming to say, that this concerns ’em not; and yet they shall presume to tell ’em, that it is not their business to take Cognizance within their Dominions, whether Men observe the Rules of the true Religion, or whether they give themselves over to Profaneness and Irreligion? For if from hence, that God has given Man a Free-will, Profaneness were to be permitted, why shou’d Adultery be punish’d?<462> The Soul which violates that Faith which it has plighted to its God, is it therefore less criminal than the Wife which violates the Faith she owes her Husband? And tho Sins, which Men thro Ignorance commit against Religion, are punish’d with less Severity; must they therefore be suffer’d to subvert it with Impunity?
This is all very specious, and deserves so much the more to be consider’d with Order and Exactness.
I. I’l allow St. Austin, that one must be void of common Sense, to think it amiss in Princes to concern themselves, whether Men trample upon, or whether they revere, within their Dominions, the Church of him whom they adore. So far ought they to be from being wholly unconcern’d about the Church, that on the contrary, it’s their Duty to keep a watchful eye over it; but after what manner? for here’s the whole Difficulty, and the sole ground of the difference. Why, if their Religion be attack’d by Arms, they ought to defend it by Arms; if attack’d by Books and by Sermons, they ought to defend it by the same Weapons. So that if a Sect springs up in their Dominions, which wou’d seize the Churches, and take People by the Collar to force ’em to follow ’em; they ought to dispatch their Missionarys of the short Robe against ’em, their standing Troops and Militia, to fall foul on these Sectarys, to restrain their Insolences, and chastise ’em according to the nature of their Offence. But if this Sect employ only Arguments and Exhortations, they ought only to get ’em confuted<463> by better Arguments, if they can, and endeavor to inform ’em of the Truth: For it’s plain to any Man who considers this matter aright, that if they employ Wheel and Scaffold against Men who back their Arguments and Exhortations with Scripture-Proofs, they violate the Reverence due to Reason and Scripture: and that if they extort Subscriptions from ’em by a dread of Death, they constrain ’em to deny with their Mouth, what their Heart adores as Truth; which is plunging ’em into much a greater Sin than their Error.
II. From hence it appears, that it is their Duty to enquire, whether People observe the Rules of the true Religion within their Dominions, or whether they are guilty of Profaneness and Irreligion. But the great Question is, how they ought to behave themselves when they are inform’d, that a Party of their Subjects follow not that Religion which their Princes believe to be true, but exercise another Worship which they look on as impious and damnable. I think I have already most evidently prov’d,141 to all who are not utterly blinded by their Prejudices, that Princes ought in this case to content themselves with letting the Controversy play, and convincing ’em, if it be possible, by sound Arguments and Instructions. Having done their Duty this way as much as in them lies, they ought to think themselves acquitted before God; and for the rest take care, that this Sect, which differs from their own, contain themselves within Bounds, and live like good Subjects, and good Citizens. But, say they, this Sect is daily committing the horriblest Impietys and Profanations. Yes, say I,<464> if you define things by your Notions of ’em, but not if you consider ’em according to the Definitions of the Sect; for they pretend, that the Impietys and Profanations are all of your side, and that their own is the only true and perfect Worship of God. This brings me again to the applying a Thought of the Bishop of Meaux, as I did once before;142 That if each Sect of Christianity assumes a Right of defining Blasphemy, Impiety, Profaneness, by Principles peculiar to themselves, and decree Punishments on Men as Blasphemers, and Profaners of holy things, convicted upon a Definition of the Crime which they don’t allow; Christianity is the weakest of all Societys, and the most obnoxious to incurable Evils: For whilst the Protestants burnt the Catholicks in England as Blasphemers and Profane, these might burn the Protestants in Italy and France as Blasphemers and Profane: the same Opinions being treated at the same time as pious and impious, as holy and blasphemous; and what’s the very Excess of Horror, we shou’d see Men expire in Flames as Blasphemers of God and his Truth, who protested with their last words, that they died only because they cou’d not say any thing that they believ’d displeasing to God; and to testify, that the Truth reveal’d to Mankind, in his Holy Word, was dearer to ’em than Life. The only means for preventing all these Confusions wou’d be, to define Blasphemy and Profaneness, by Principles common to the Accuser and the Accused; and then a Man fairly convicted of Blasphemy or Profaneness, might be hang’d out of the way, or burnt, or broil’d; and they, who delight in the death of Hereticks, have Content. Thus a Christian is<465> justly punish’d who renounces God, or robs the Vestry, the Poor-box, &c. because by his own Principles he is guilty of Blasphemy and Sacrilege. But the truth is, it were too hard upon St. Austin, to desire he wou’d qualify things otherwise than from the Instinct of his own Prejudices.
III. My third Remark arises naturally from the second. ’Tis all the reason in the world, that Princes shou’d ordain Penaltys and Chastisements for the obliging Men to the Observation of the Laws of Honesty and Sobriety, because all their Subjects acknowledg the Justice of these Laws, and consequently every Transgression against ’em is malicious, wilful, and under the Conscience of its being displeasing to God. But as to the Tenets of Religion, and the Laws enacted by Princes concerning the Worship of God, all their Subjects acknowledg not the Justice of ’em alike; there are those who believe ’em impious and abominable: so that their disobeying ’em proceeds not either from Malice, or a Spirit of Rebellion, or a Contempt of their Sovereign, but from a fear of disobeying God, the great Lord and common Master of Prince and People. This, this is the great and capital Circumstance which makes the difference between Civil Observances, and Religious, with regard to the Prince’s Jurisdiction; and the reason why he may justly enforce the Laws concerning those, with temporal Punishments and Rewards, but not punish the Infringers of such Laws as determine concerning these.
IV. The Answer is now very plain to St. Austin’s Comparison between Profanation and Adultery. Why, says he, shou’d they punish Adultery and<466> not Profaneness? Because, he who commits Adultery is agreed with his Accuser and his Judg, that it is Adultery and a wicked Action; but far from agreeing with ’em, that he is guilty of Impiety or Profaneness, in serving God according to the Principles of his own Sect: he thinks he’s in the Discharge of a pious Work, and shou’d think himself guilty of Impiety and Profaneness, shou’d he worship God according to the Principles of his Judg or Accuser. The Judges find nothing, in the case of an Adulterer, that challenges their regard. They find the Motive evil, and a Sense and certain Knowledg in him of his acting wickedly; consequently that he had not any manner of regard in it to God, or to his Neighbor, so that every thing crys for Vengeance against him. But when a Catholick Judg wou’d punish what he calls Impiety, Blasphemy, and Sacrilege in a Calvinist, maintaining that the consecrated Host is no more than Bread, and refusing it Adoration; he discovers a Motive in the Soul of this Heretick which merits his regard, to wit, a fear of offending God, a horror of Idolatry, and a stedfast purpose of incurring the Detestation of Men rather than do that which he believes God has forbidden. A Disposition of Mind like this, ought it not to be an inviolable Asylum against all human Jurisdiction; and is it possible, there shou’d be Men of Blood and gigantick Boldness enough, to put a Man to death, because he makes that the Rule of his Actions, which he takes to be the Law and express Will of God?
V. As to the Parallel between a Wife who violates her conjugal Faith, and a Soul which per-<467>severes not in a rightful Persuasion (and this St. Austin calls, violating the Fidelity which we owe to God) I have little more to say than that this Father cou’d not possibly mark out his Camp in worse ground; he cou’d not maintain this Post a moment against a modern* Author, whom I have cited elsewhere,143 and approv’d in part, and in part disapprov’d. I refer him therefore to this Author; he’l shew him, by the Example of a Wife, who, deceiv’d by the Likeness, and persuaded that an Impostor, who personates her Husband, is her lawful Spouse, receives him into her Bed without offending God in the least; that a Heretick, who mistakes a Falshood for the Truth, ought to pay it the same regard as if it really were the Truth, and is answerable in the sight of God only for the Neglect or Malice, by the means of which he might be led into the Mistake. So that one can never enough blame St. Austin for his want of Exactness and Accuracy in all these Parallels. He runs on with his Comparison very demurely, and as if he had to deal with mere Ideots; between a Wife who lies with a Man whom she knows not to be her Husband, and a Soul which entertains false Opinions, but entertains ’em only because it’s fully persuaded they are true; insomuch that the whole Influence and Power they have over the Man, proceeds from no other Cause, than the firm and sincere Disposition of his Soul to the loving and reverencing the Truth.<468>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
We must own, that Children, who are drawn by Gentleness and Love, are much the best; but these don’t make the greatest number: there are incomparably more of another sort, whom nothing will work upon but Fear. Accordingly we read in Scripture,* That a Servant will not be corrected by words; for tho he understand he will not answer: which supposes a Necessity of employing some more powerful Means. It informs us in another place, that we must employ the Rod, not against evil Servants only, but untoward Children. It is true, says the Scripture again,† Thou shall beat him with a Rod, and shall deliver his Soul from Hell: and elsewhere,† He that spareth his Rod, hateth his Son; but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes.
Pergis pugnantia secum, frontibus adversis componere,144 may one in some measure tell St. Austin; for surely never was any Man more unhappy in Comparisons than he, tho he finds a power of ’em, fit enough to impose on Understandings which look no farther than the Surface of things. Let’s see now, whether the Education of Children, and the Conversion of Hereticks, ought to be carry’d on the same way.
I say not; and I ground it on this substantial Reason: That Children being unable to form any deliberate or reasonable judgment upon their<469> own Actions till such a certain Age, but obeying the Impressions of the Machine, and those Sensations of Pleasure or Pain which Objects produce in ’em; what we are principally to require at their hands, is the Practice of certain Actions: but as they are very little sensible of any Motives of Honor, and can’t see far enough into the depth of a Reason to give it the preference to their Passions, they must be threaten’d, and sometimes whip’d, before they can be brought to perform these Actions. Now it answers our end sufficiently, if they only perform ’em, even tho we shou’d not just then enlighten their Understandings to know the benefit of ’em, nor endue ’em with any one just Notion of things. For example, a Father has a mind that his Son shou’d learn to write, and orders him to write so many hours a day; the Son wou’d much rather play, whatever Lectures his Governors may read him to the contrary: What must be done in this case? He must be whip’d if he does not write. ’Twere better, I own, to possess his Mind before-hand with this Point of Knowledg, It’s my Interest and Advantage to write, for such or such a reason; and give him this as the Rule of his Obedience to his Father’s Will, who desires he shou’d write: but if his Mind be not at a maturity to take the impression of this Idea, he must notwithstanding be made to write; because whether he thinks Writing an Accomplishment, or whether he does not, the Father equally gains his point, which is the teaching him to write: For it’s sufficient to this end, if he only practises Writing, and if for fear of a whipping he endeavor to write a fair hand: there’s no great need of any<470> Thought or Opinion of his own as to this particular Design; the whole matter lies in his being under the fear of a whipping, unless he finishes his Task.
We are to say the same of the Actions of Servants, always making the due Allowances and Abatements. A reasonable Master wou’d be very glad he cou’d make ’em understand the Obligations of their Station, and quicken their Diligence by Motives worthy of human Nature; but if this won’t do, he employs his Threats and Stripes, and makes ’em get the knowledg of their Duty well enough, in the ordinary and vulgar way. Why does the Master do well in this? Because with regard to the Actions which he requires of his Servants, ’tis all one to him, whether they perform ’em from such or such a sense of the Reasons of ’em, or whether they perform ’em without any such sense at all. Accordingly let a Cook persuade himself as much as he please, that his Master is not fit to live, and that he deserves to have his Dinner spoil’d; yet if the Dread of a Horse-whip hinders his dressing it ill, is not this all his Master aims at? Wou’d his Ragoo be better or more savory, if the Cook had better thoughts of him? We see the reason then for threatning and chastising untoward Children and Servants, because we are not concern’d about their Opinions, but about their Actions; and that it signifies very little, whether these Actions be conformable to their Opinions or no, provided they be done.
But the case is quite different in the Conversion of Hereticks: We do nothing at all, unless we change their Opinions; and consequently attain<471> not the end we ought to propose, if we only prevail with a Heretick to frequent such and such Assemblys, assist at Divine Service, and conform outwardly to the King’s Religion. Our propos’d End ought to have bin the delivering him from the Power of Prejudice and false Persuasions, and filling his Mind with the Knowledg of the Truth; and nothing of this kind is done: we have only outward Actions in the room of it, which in the order of Nature shou’d have bin the Result and Consequence from the main End and principal Design. I shan’t lose time in proving over and over, that Menaces and Blows are not a means of enlightning the Understanding, and that all they can do is agitating the Machine by the Passions of Fear or Pain arising from ’em in the Soul. What remains then, but saying that St. Austin join’d things together which are intirely different in that point at least, wherein they shou’d exactly have answer’d, to ground a just Parallel?
They’l undoubtedly tell me over again what I have sufficiently confuted elsewhere,145 That Stripes are intermediately instructive, by making the Mind apply more intensly to the Consideration of the Truth: and I, in answer, shall refer ’em to my former Solutions.
If Fear of any kind be necessary in order to a Man’s Conversion, ’tis certainly that of the Judgments of God; but as no body apprehends that God will chastise him for things which he believes to be good, and every one believes his religious Opinions such, it follows evidently, that the threatning a Heretick with the Wrath of God, is of no manner of service towards unde-<472>ceiving him; he never will believe that this Wrath shall be reveal’d on him for any other cause than his Indevotion and disorderly Life: so that all the effect it can naturally have, is the confirming him in his Heresy. Yet St. Austin has taken care not to omit, among his many faulty Parallels, that of some rebellious Children of God, who have profited by the Afflictions with which God has visited ’em. I believe there may be many such cases, but then it’s with regard to Manners only; or if Opinions have ever bin the cause, ’twas only where God interpos’d in a very singular manner. Now we must not presume to make those particular Cases a Rule for our Conduct, nor tread under foot the most sacred Laws of the Decalogue, on so vain an Imagination.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Jesus Christhimself exercis’d Violence on St. Paul, and forc’d him to believe: let these Men then never say more, as their custom is, Every one is at liberty to believe or not to believe.
It truly tires one’s Patience, after having met with so many Sophisms already, still to meet with more. For is it not an Illusion unworthy this great Doctor of Grace, to imagine that because Jesus Christ converted not St. Paul till after he had flung him on the ground, blinded, and fill’d him with astonishment; therefore Honorius might convert the Donatists, by depriving ’em before-hand of their Liberty, and Property, and Country? But had Honorius Grace<473> at hand, as well as Jesus Christ, to give his Chastisements the wish’d Success? Did he know the critical Seasons and Circumstances for tormenting and vexing? Had he any assurance that his Violences wou’d be efficacious? ’Tis nonsense, from all that God does, to conclude that Princes may do the same. God made use of Afflictions for the converting of Pharaoh’s Heart, and yet Pharaoh harden’d in his Sin: but his Chastisements produc’d quite a contrary effect on the Persecutor Paul. This shews us, that all kind of Instruments are good in the hands of God, whensoever he pleases; yet Men must not presume to imitate this Conduct: else why might not they imitate God’s sending St. Paul a Thorn in the Flesh, to hinder his being puff’d up? Why not force those, who make an ill use of their Youth and Beauty, to take Pouders or Potions to destroy their Complexion and Vigor, or get defamatory Libels against ’em publickly dispers’d, that they might never dare shew their faces abroad? Why not slay the Children to punish their Parents, and wean ’em from the World, as God often does; and so go on in all the other ways of Plague and Affliction with which he promotes the Salvation of his Elect? Had Princes the two Characters with which Jesus Christ is invested, they might in God’s name disquiet and grieve People as much as ever St. Paul was griev’d. But have they the same Prerogative as Jesus Christ, of afflicting whom they think fit by Sickness, Shipwreck, Loss of Children and Substance? And can they, like him, assure and inwardly convince those whom they afflict on the score of their Opinions, that these Opinions<474> are displeasing to God? The Prerogative of Kings in this respect is the lowest in the world: for shou’d they tell a Heretick a hundred times a day, Your Opinion is stark naught, this were not so good a reason to him as a Priest’s telling him so; because it’s to be presum’d, that a Priest has examin’d into the ground of different Religions much more than a King. Consequently, the Punishments he inflicts are no way likely to create the least Doubt in the Mind of the Persecuted, tho they may produce a Desire of conforming unworthily to the Time and Season.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Why shou’d not the Church have the Privilege of employing Constraint for recovering her lost Children, and bringing ’em home into her bosom; when these wretched Children make use of the same means for bringing others into Perdition?
This Question is easily answer’d by saying, that Examples don’t authorize Sin, and that a Mother who committed an Indiscretion, because her Daughter was guilty of the same, wou’d make her self much more ridiculous than if she had not used that reason. If the Donatists committed any Outrages on their Brethren, were not there Laws enough in the Roman Code for trying ’em, and Courts of Justice enough in the Empire for condemning ’em to the Punishments which their Crimes deserv’d? Must the Church, instead of exhorting the Judges to discharge their Duty against these Persecutors,<475> become her self a Persecutress of those who had no hand in their Crimes? St. Austin was at first for requiring no more than Security and Protection for the Catholicks, but he chang’d his mind.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Shou’d we, for example, see two Men in a House that we knew was ready to fall down about their ears, and that whatever pains we took to warn ’em out, they shou’d obstinately resolve to abide in it; wou’d it not be a degree of Cruelty, not to drag ’em out by main force.
This, with a very small alteration, is the Objection of the Frantick or Lunatick, hinder’d by main force from throwing himself out at a window. We have shown146 so unanswerable a Disparity between the Cases, that there’s no danger of its ever rising in judgment against us. The Sum of it is this: When a House is ready to fall, we equally prevent a Man’s being crush’d to death by it, whether we persuade him to get out, or whether we drag him out by main force. But we don’t save a Man who is in a false Religion, unless we rationally persuade him to quit it. Do with him what you please, yet without this you do nothing; consequently all Constraint, all dragging as by a halter into the Churches of the Faithful, is lost labor, and the most unprofitable Attempt in the world, with regard to Salvation.<476>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
As to what they say, that we have a design upon their Estates, and wou’d fain have the fingering of ’em; let ’em turn Catholicks, and we assure ’em they shall not only enjoy what they call their own Estates, but also come in for a share of ours. Passion has blinded ’em to such a degree, that they don’t perceive how they contradict themselves. They reproach us with exerting the Authority of the Laws for constraining ’em into our Communion, as if it were the most odious Action: and shou’d we take this pains, if we had a design upon their Estates?
This is a very fine Turn; but it can never prevent People’s believing, that a great many of those who advise Kings to confiscate the Estates of Sectarys, are acted by Avarice; because they are sure a great many will always be found, who’l chuse to part with their Estates rather than their Religion. Many an Officer and Soldier, during the late Dragoonery in France, was vex’d at the heart to find that their Landlords wou’d sign so soon, and not give ’em time to make up a small Purse. How many of the Catholicks of that Kingdom wou’d be e’en distracted, shou’d the Refugees return, and take possession of their Estates? Wou’d any one collect accounts of all the Collusions and pick-pocket Innuendo’s, which have operated in the procuring ’em private Passports to depart, he might have plenty of matter.<477>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
The Canaanite shall ne’er rise in judgment against the People of Israel, tho these drove them out of their Country, and took away the Fruit of their Labor; but Naboth shall rise up against Achab, because Achab took away the Fruit of Naboth’s Labor. And why one, and not the others? Because Naboth was a just Man, and the Canaanites Idolaters.
This is the last Article I shall examine in this Letter of St. Austin to Boniface. The Passage before us is very remarkable: He advances this Principle in it, expresly and without disguise, That Hereticks in seizing the Goods of Catholicks commit a Sin, and that Catholicks seizing the Goods of Hereticks perform a Good-work. Did ever any one see a more Jesuitical Morality?147 Is not this the very Chimera and Frenzy of several abominable Sects, who have boasted that what was a Sin in other Men, was lawful and innocent in their Communion. For my part I own, I know not where-abouts I am, when I find Men annex such Privileges of Impeccability to the Profession of the Orthodox Faith. I always thought that the more one was Orthodox, the more he was oblig’d to be just towards all Men; but here’s St. Austin’s Authority, that invading the Property of our Neighbor, and seizing the Fruit of his Labor, is a Good-work, provided the Seizer is an Orthodox, and the Sufferer a Heterodox. I can see no reason for stopping here; for why shou’d Robbery be more privileg’d than Murder<478> and Calumny? We must therefore say, that smiting and slaying Men, blackning ’em by all kind of Calumny, betraying ’em by false Oaths, are all good Actions in a Member of the true, against a Member of a false Church. If a Man were dispos’d to make moral Reflections, might not he here say, that God in his Justice permits those who depart so egregiously from the ways of Righteousness, and the Spirit of the Gospel, in favor of Persecutors, shou’d fall from depth to depth into Maxims of Morality, whose Impiety gives the utmost horror. By this rule the Sin of David, in taking away the Wife of Uriah, was no farther a Sin, than as Uriah was a Jew; and if by chance he had bin a Native of Tyre, who had sought for Refuge in Judea, the Action had bin lawful: at least, in case David had only taken from him what Mony and Jewels, or other Effects he had sav’d from Tyre, or Lands purchas’d by him at the usual Value with the King’s Consent. What Sanctions are there, in the Law of Nature and Nations, that the Christian Religion won’t cancel at this rate? that Religion which ought to support and strengthen ’em!
Here’s all I have to say to these two Letters of St. Austin, printed apart by the Archbishop of Paris’s Orders, to justify his own Conduct by the Sense of this Father. And here I might stop, justly believing that this is all the Convertists have to say for themselves of any great weight: however, as there are some other Letters of St. Austin, in which he has treated the same matter, I think it mayn’t be amiss to answer these likewise, that we may leave no Enemy in our Rear.<479>
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If the Temporal Powers stretch forth their hand against Schismaticks, ’tis because they look on their Separation as an Evil, and that they are ordain’d by God for the Punishment of Evil-doers, according to that Saying of the Apostle, Whosoever therefore resisteth the Power, resisteth the Ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves Damnation: For Rulers are not a terror to Good-works, but to the Evil, &c. The whole Question then lies here, whether Schism be an Evil, and whether you have not made the Schism; for if so, you resist the Powers, not for any Good, but for Evil. But, say you, no one shou’d persecute even bad Christians. Allow they ought not; yet how can this secure ’em against the Powers ordain’d by God for the Punishment of Evil-doers? Can we cancel that Passage of St. Paul, which I have just now cited?
One can hardly imagine what St. Austin cou’d be thinking of, when he applies his Scripture so very wrong. Cou’d not he see, that he gave it a strain beyond what the Apostle ever dream’d of? For at his rate of quoting St. Paul, he makes him plainly affirm, that Subjects who conform not to the Prince’s Laws are wicked and worthy of Punishment, and Resisters of the Ordinance of God; the most impious Falshood that ever any one advanc’d! since it charges all the<480> Martyrs and Confessors with Rebellion against God, and a punishable Untowardness, and in general all the Christians of the primitive Church, and the Apostles in the first place, who obey’d not the Heathen Emperors forbidding by their Laws the Profession of Christianity. We must of necessity take up with this abominable Consequence, or own there are Limitations essentially understood in St. Paul’s words; such as except those Cases at least, wherein we can’t conform to the Prince’s Laws, without deeming it better to obey Man than to obey God. Now he who conforms to the Prince’s Laws, when persuaded in Conscience that God ordains the contrary, chuses to obey his Prince rather than God (there’s no cavilling against the Evidence of this Proposition, for those who weigh the Terms of it ever so little) consequently St. Paul must be understood to except all those Cases, wherein one is persuaded that God ordains the contrary of what Princes ordain. And so the Schismaticks, which St. Austin had to deal with, being within this case, the alledging this Passage of St. Paul cou’d be of no force against them, without proving, as it must if taken in this latitude, that one ought to be a Turk at Constantinople, an Arian under Constantius, a Pagan under Nero, a Protestant in Sweden, a Papist in Rome, &c.
If the temporal Powers stretch forth their hand against Schismaticks, ’tis because they look on their Separation as an Evil, and that they are ordain’d by God for the Punishment of Evil-doers. Let’s put this Argument of St. Austin’s in form.<481>
If it were* a Sin in Princes to stretch forth their hands against Schismaticks, ’twou’d be a Sin in ’em for this reason only; That they did not look upon Schism as an Evil, or that God had not ordain’d ’em for the Punishment of Evil-doers.
But they do look upon Schism as an Evil, and God has ordain’d ’em for the Punishment of Evil-doers.
Therefore it is not a Sin in ’em to stretch forth their hands against Schismaticks.
We now perceive how this formidable Syllogism shrinks to a wretched begging the Question; I persecute you justly, because I am Orthodox: and by the same rule I kill, I slander, I cheat, I betray you justly, because I am Orthodox.
Let’s suppose an Arian Bishop under Constantius reason the same way.
If it were an ill thing in the Emperor, to stretch forth his hand against those who hold the eternal Divinity of Jesus Christ, the reason must be, that he did not look on this Opinion as an Evil, and that God had not ordain’d him for the Punishment of Evil.
But he believes this Opinion Evil, and that God has ordain’d him for the Punishment of Evil.
Therefore it’s no ill thing in him to stretch forth his hand against the Patrons of this Opinion.
Suppose, I say, an Arian Bishop reason’d thus, what cou’d St. Austin say for himself? Nothing<482> but this, That Constantius look’d upon that as Evil which really was not so, and that God had not ordain’d him for the Punishment of that which is no Evil. Nor must he henceforward say a word more of the Passage from the Apostle, which he had cited as an invincible Argument. The whole Dispute for the future will turn upon the ground of the Separation: and if either convince t’other, well and good; if not, each must stand upon his own bottom, and serve God according to his own Principles. This Remark alone is sufficient to shew, that the Secular Power has no right to interpose in religious Differences, so far as to constrain any one to the Belief of this or that: The getting all contested Points stated and explain’d, is the most that Princes ought to do; or taking care, that the publick Peace is not disturb’d by the Differences in Opinion.
To return to the Arian Bishop’s Syllogism, I say that whoever wou’d effectually answer it, must deny that the Emperor, because he looks on a thing as evil, has a right to punish it, or to exercise that Authority which St. Paul speaks of, when he says, God has ordain’d the Powers which are, for the Punishment of Evil-doers. But the denying of this, puts St. Austin quite out of sorts, and lays him under a necessity of changing his first Proposition into this which follows; The Emperor stretches forth his hand against you, because your Separation is an Evil, and because God has ordain’d him for the Punishment of Evil. Now this is manifestly supposing the thing in question, because the Donatists maintain’d that their Separation was very just; and consequently St. Austin’s Argument amounts to no more than this,<483> You are wrong, and I am right; which the long Passage he has cited from St. Paul has undoubtedly nothing to do with, one way or other.
He well saw, that what he had bin all along urging amounted to no more, since he adds; The whole Question lies here, whether Schism ben’t an Evil, and whether you have not made the Schism. If this be all the Question, it ought to be decided by Reasoning; and if St. Austin offers Arguments of weight enough to convince the Donatists, there will be no more need of Fines or Prisons, they’l re-ingraft on the old Stock with all their heart. But if St. Austin’s Reasons convince ’em not, the Question and Contest will still subsist; and consequently ’twill be manifestly begging the Question, if St. Austin reasons at this rate:
You have committed an ill Action.
The Emperor is oblig’d to punish those who commit ill Actions.
Therefore the Emperor is oblig’d to punish you.
Now it’s absurd arguing upon a bare begging the Question,149 and much more absurd to inflict Punishments, banish, imprison, pill and pillage Folks on a bare begging the Question: consequently St. Austin’s Cause is stark naught in this part of it.
For since the whole Question, as he himself owns, amounts to this; Is Schism an Evil, and have the Donatists made the Schism? the Laws of good Order and right Reason require, that the Partys examine this Point, and dispute it fairly, before either condemns what either affirms or denies. What will be the issue of this Discussion or Dispute? Why one of these three things<484> must necessarily happen; either each Party will persist in its own Opinion; or one of ’em, convinc’d it’s in the wrong, will comply with what the other proposes; or, last of all, tho convinc’d of its Error, will yet obstinately refuse to change sides. If we suppose the Donatists, or any other Sect accus’d of Heresy, within the first Case, the Question and Ground of the Dispute is still on foot; and consequently St. Austin ought not to fly to the Prince’s Authority, because he can’t suppose the Right of his own side, but by manifestly begging the Question, and because there’s no common standing Rule between him and his Adversarys, by which he may justly pronounce ’em Evil-doers. If we suppose ’em under the second Circumstance, there’s no need of calling in the Secular Power against ’em. In the third Case we may very justly have recourse to the Authority of the Prince, provided we have a certain and undoubted knowledg of their persisting contrary to the Lights of their Conscience: but how shall we come by this Knowledg; we have not the Gift of searching the Heart, and we ought to suppose that a Man is not convinc’d of his Error as long as he protests he is not: and whatever Conjecture we may have to the contrary, we have no right to act by him according to our Conjectures, rather than according to his own Protestation. So that we can’t possibly imagine a Case, which, in pure Disputes about Religion, authorizes our arming the Secular Power against Schismaticks, and solliciting penal Laws.
But I can’t well comprehend what St. Austin means in this place, when he says, That allowing<485> no one ought to persecute even the worst Christians, yet this cou’d be no Protection to them against the Powers ordain’d by God for the Punishment of Evil-doers. To me it looks like a Contradiction: for if bad Christians shou’d not be persecuted, this is a strong Reason in their favor against those Princes who wou’d bring ’em to Punishments from which they are exempted; I mean such Punishments as the Powers ordain’d by God may inflict on Evil-doers. But to pass over this want of Consistency in our Author, I shall only observe, that Christians who are no otherwise bad than as they believe and mistake certain false Doctrines for Divine Revelation, are not to be reckon’d among those Evil-doers, for the Punishment of whom Princes have receiv’d the Sword from God. This Sword concerns only such as are guilty of Crimes, and of violating the politickal Laws of the State, Murderers, Robbers, False Witnesses, Adulterers, &c.
This Passage of St. Austin is, I suppose, the Fountain from whence the Bishop of Meaux has drawn his Query to one of his Diocesans; Tell me, says he, in what place of Scripture do you find Hereticks and Schismaticks excepted out of the number of those Evil-doers, against whom St. Paul tells us, God himself has armed the Princes?150 There was no need of an Exemption: for it’s plain to any one who consults the Genius of the Gospel, that this sort of Evil-doers ought not to be treated like the rest. What they do, they do with an intention of serving God more perfectly, and of avoiding what they think displeasing to him; they therefore ought only to be undeceiv’d and better inform’d: and none but Brutes and<486> Savage Natures, or stupidly blinded by senseless Prepossessions, can have the cruelty to punish Misdemeanors committed involuntarily, or from such an intention. Beside, that all the Arguments which I have urg’d at large in my Commentary on the words, Compel ’em to come in, are so many demonstrative Proofs, that God design’d not to arm Princes with the avenging Sword, Gladio Ultore, against Errors of Conscience.
And here I can’t but call to mind a Passage of St. Paul, which I have elsewhere151 made my use of; Do good unto all, but especially to those who are of the Houshold of Faith: and I maintain it’s a sufficient Answer to the Bishop of Meaux’s Query. For it’s plain, this Precept of the Apostle concerns all Christians, and consequently Sovereigns; and that by it Princes are oblig’d to do good unto others beside the Houshold of Faith, otherwise ’twere absurd to bid ’em do good especially to the Houshold of Faith: but if from the time that one ceases to be of the Houshold of Faith, he commences an Evil-doer of that kind which human Justice is oblig’d to pursue, and for the Punishment of whom Princes have receiv’d the Sword from God; it’s as plain, against the Precept of the Apostle, that they can do good to none but those of the Houshold of Faith. Whence we infer, that the Apostle design’d they shou’d make an essential difference between their Nonconformist Subjects; and Murderers, Robbers, False Witnesses, Adulterers, and all other Disturbers of the publick Tranquillity, on whom God won’t have Magistrates exercise any other good than that of punishing their Crimes. So that this single Passage of St. Paul is demonstration that<487> God exempts Hereticks and Schismaticks, demeaning themselves civilly otherwise, and living according to the Laws of the Land, out of the number of those Evil-doers, whose Punishment is enjoin’d on Princes upon their receiving the Sword from God.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Must not he be abandon’d to all shame, who won’t submit to what Truth ordains by the Voice of the Sovereign?
I own, he must be abandon’d, that refuses submitting to a Sovereign when persuaded he enjoins nothing but the Truth: yet, if I may presume to say it, he exposes himself on the other hand to the Laughter of all reasonable Men, who censures, as abandon’d to shame, such as refuse to submit to what Emperors, in his opinion Enemys to the Truth, ordain against the Light of his Conscience. Now this is the case of all the Persecuted; it’s therefore ridiculous to tell ’em, they refuse submitting to the Truth, speaking by the mouth of the Sovereign. This can properly reach only those who, persuaded of its being the Truth, refuse obstinately to submit to it.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If the care we take to rescue you from Error and Perdition be what inflames your Hatred so much<488> against us, you must lay the blame upon God, who has given this terrible Reproof to the slothful Pastors, Ye have not brought back the Stray or looked for what was lost &c.153
St. Austin is so fond of Persecution, that he chops upon it in infinite Passages of Scripture, which yet have no more relation to it, than they have to the Interests of the Great Mogul. The lowest of all Mankind might easily apprehend that God, in this passage, complains only of those Pastors who neglecting the Salvation of those committed to their charge, interpos’d not by their Instructions, Censures, and Exhortations, to check their evil Courses, and preserve ’em from Heresys, into which fallacious Reasonings, Ambition, a Marriage, &c. might have betray’d ’em. But it’s a palpable Chimera, to imagine that God addresses those fearful Threats to Pastors who implore not the Assistance of the Secular Power, or don’t bring into the field a Force of Provo’s with their Archers, Dragoons, Cuirassiers, and the rest of the awful Tribe, to croud their Sheepfolds for ’em. If so, the Pastors of the Church of Rome, and those who have best discharg’d the pretended Duty towards the Calvinists of France in this last Dragoon Crusade, wou’d still be answerable to God, and chargeable with Connivance and wicked Neglect, in not prevailing with the King to dragoon the Covetous, the Unclean, the Evil-speakers, the Gamesters, the Tiplers, the Gluttons, the Uncharitable, and the rest of the Children of this World, so inti-<489>mately known to ’em, by the means of Confession. According to this fine Maxim of St. Austin, a Confessor who saw a Lady relapse into the Sins of Lasciviousness, and who did not take care to have twenty Dragoons quarter’d on her more or less, according as she was more or less rich, to break her Looking-Glasses, spoil all her fine Furniture, and eat her out of House and Home, till she sign’d an Instrument renouncing all her Vanitys and Vices; wou’d deserve the terrible Reproof, in Scripture, against those Pastors who fulfil not their Duty. What Dreams are here!
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If you think it unlawful to constrain Men to do good, pray consider that a Bishoprick is a good Office, since the Apostle has said as much; yet there are a great many on whom Violence is actually exercis’d to oblige ’em to accept of it. They are seiz’d, they are hurry’d away by main force, they are shut up and confin’d till they are forc’d to desire this good thing.
Here’s an Argument drawn from the days of yore, and which there was no great danger, that either the Archbishop of Paris, or any other Prelate of France, wou’d publish with the rest of St. Austin’s Sophisms; they don’t desire, the People shou’d know they attain to the Episcopacy, by Methods so unlike those of the unaspiring Antients, whom ’twas necessary to<490> force; that they run headlong to it, rise by Intrigue, and by making their Court, Year after Year, to P. la Chaize, or some other Idol of the cringing Tribe. But say they, be that how it will, heretofore at least there were those whom ’twas necessary to constrain to be Bishops. Now a Bishoprick is a good thing; therefore they were constrain’d to do good: Such Constraint therefore is not always unlawful.
To dispel the Illusion of this Parallel, I have only one Remark to make, to wit, That they who refus’d a Bishoprick, did not act from an Opinion of its being evil; but from an Opinion of their own Insufficiency and Unworthiness. Such was their Humility and Modesty, that they cou’d not perceive they had Strength enough to support the weight of this Office; and as they knew, that the Glory of God, and the Good of the Church, depended on the filling this Post with fit Persons, they believ’d, that by accepting it they shou’d only obstruct a greater measure of good and greater Benefits from a worthier Hand. They likewise believ’d, that the Person ought to feel an inward Call to this Office, or otherwise not accept of it; but wait God’s Time, till he declar’d himself, either by a Vocation clearly communicated to the Ears of the Soul, or a Conjuncture of Circumstances, by which one might safely conclude, that such was the Will of God. These Circumstances might either be the persevering of those who offer’d the Dignity, in exhorting and pressing to accept it; an Earnestness that he wou’d comply, express’d by Compulsions, and little obliging Captivitys; repeated Commands on pain of Disobedience, and<491> other things of a like nature; which, far from grieving or violating the Conscience, might and ought to deliver it from all kind of Scruple: For it’s matter enough of Comfort, upon accepting a Charge which one believes above his Strength, if he accepts it only to give way to repeated instances, and in some measure to the Commands of his Superiors and Directors. He may rest satisfy’d, that by doing his best Endeavors, he shall have no cause to reproach himself on the thoughts of occupying a Station, which might be fill’d by a more deserving Person. So that the Parallel between a Man who is made a Bishop, as it were by force, and a Person constrain’d to abjure his Religion, won’t hold.
1. He who was forc’d to the Bishoprick, was persuaded ’twas an excellent thing: whereas a Heretick constrain’d to abjure, believes the Religion he’s compel’d to exceeding bad.
2. He who refus’d the Bishoprick, refus’d it only from a Principle of Humility and Modesty: whereas the Heretick refuses from an Aversion to the thing propos’d: Accordingly in such a degree as it’s obliging to press the one to accept the good thing, who trembles at the Thoughts of it; in such a measure, is it rude and brutal pressing the other to throw himself headlong into a Pit, which gives him a horror. St. Austin compares these two things together (judg you whether the Comparison be just) the Action of a Man, who keeps another to dinner, seats him at the upper end of his Table, and constrains him to submit to a thousand Civilitys, which he modestly refus’d; and the Action of a Man, who<492> goes to another’s House, and drubs him with a Cudgel out of his own Home.
3. The constraining to a Bishoprick, was a proper means of quieting all Scruples upon the Point, and did effectually remove ’em: whereas the constraining a Heretick, does but afflict him in Body and Mind, without affording the least Ray of Light; and exposes him to a thousand distracting Thoughts and criminal Devices.
4. Last of all, there’s this further difference between the two Cases: that he who shou’d peremptorily refuse a Bishoprick, and plead, that the Experience of his own Infirmitys wou’d not in Conscience permit him to undertake such a Charge; that another might sustain it much more gloriously for the Honor of God and the Church; wou’d be sent home again in Peace, and admir’d for his Humility: whereas a Heretick sees no end to his Miserys unless he abjure.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
We well know, that as nothing can damn Men but an evil Disposition of Will; so nothing but their good Will can save ’em: But how can the Love, which we are oblig’d to bear our Neighbor, permit our abandoning such numbers to their own wicked Will? Is it not cruel to throw, as I may say, the Reins loose on their Necks; and ought we not, to the utmost of our Power, prevent their doing Evil, and force ’em to do Good.<493>
Undoubtedly we ought to endeavor it to the utmost of our Power; but as it’s impossible to compass this by any other means than Persuasion and Instruction; drubbing and cudgelling having indeed a Power over the Soul, of making it cast the Body into what Posture the Convertist pleases, but not of changing the corrupt Will: it evidently follows, that we ought never to employ such means for the Conversion of Souls. We sufficiently express our bounden Duty towards our Neighbor, and oppose his wicked Will, if we expostulate and reason with him the best we can to make him perceive his Deviations and Errors: if this won’t do, we must commit the Care of him to God, the great Physician of Souls. And if the Heretick endeavors to pervert others, we must encounter him with all our Might; that is, we must oppose an Antidote of sound Reasonings, to the Poison of his: and if he proceed to Violence, we must bring him to condign Punishment, in the ordinary way, as we wou’d any other Malefactor who oppresses his Fellow-Citizen. To force a Man to do good is a contradiction, as much as Cogere voluntatem,155 unless understood of Good resulting from a Machine, like that of a Fountain, which runs Wine for the Rabble’s drinking. This kind of Good may be fetch’d out of a Miser, by forcing him to give an Alms; yet he does not do a good Work for all this.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If we must always leave an evil Will to its natural Liberty, why so many Scourges and pier-<494>cing Goads to force the Children of Israel, in spite of all their Murmurings and Stiffneckedness, to move forward toward the Land of Promise, &c?
St. Austin here resumes the formerly-confuted Examples of St. Paul flung to the Ground,156 of a Father whipping his Children,157 of a Shepherd running after the lost Sheep, and bringing it home by fair or by foul means;158 on the neglect whereof God reproaches him with Sloth and Unfaithfulness. I have confuted all this so often, that I am e’en tir’d of it. Will Men never comprehend the essential Difference between Acts where the Good-will and Consent is indispensably necessary, and those where it is not; between Acts committed under a sense of their being displeasing to God, and those perform’d from an Opinion of their being agreeable to his Will? The Israelites who murmur’d, and refus’d to proceed towards the Land of Canaan, were not so brutish as to think their Behavior approv’d by God, or that their Conscience and Religion exacted this Refusal and these Murmurings; therefore they justly deserv’d to be punish’d: and the Punishments God inflicted on ’em were a proper means of reclaiming ’em from their Sin, because they were persuaded, that ’twas God who punish’d ’em for this very Sin. But a Schismatick or Heretick, whom the Convertists load with Chains and Dragoons, is far from believing, that ’tis God afflicts him on the score of his Opinions. On the contrary, he imagines, that God punishes him for his former want of Zeal for those very Opinions; and<495> therefore Dungeons, Dragoons, and Galleys can never redress that Evil, which the Convertists wou’d propose by ’em; as the Punishments inflicted on the Israelites might quell their Murmurings and Impatience.
Besides, with regard to the Conquest of the Land of Canaan, ’twas all one, whether the Israelites mov’d freely to it, or whether they mov’d from a Fear of Punishment. And therefore all lay in their marching on, and moving towards it. The Case of the General of an Army will illustrate this: He is not displeas’d, that his Men move to the Assault cheerfully, and with a sense of Honor; but cou’d he be assur’d, that the Fear of Punishment wou’d make ’em braver than their Love and Affection for him, he cou’d easily comfort himself upon their conquering with an Ill-will. If it hinders not their marching up to the Enemys Fire with equal Briskness and Ardor, it’s all that he desires. To consider then only the journying towards the Land of Canaan, and the attacking the Canaanites; ’twas equal to God, whether the People acted freely or from Fear: and therefore ’twas reasonable to punish ’em when they refus’d to march. But the Case is different, with regard to Religion and the Worship of God: here the Persuasion, the Affections and Good-will are essentially requisite; and St. Austin will find no example to the contrary.
I cant see his Reason for bringing St. Paul’s Conversion so often upon the Stage: Perhaps he imagines (which were a very poor Illusion) that if it were not for the Violence, which Jesus Christ exercis’d on his Body, his Mind had not<496> bin enlighten’d with the Knowledg of the Gospel. An Error! Jesus Christ cou’d have converted him without the least Bustle, and, as I may say, in his very Sleep. If he thought fit to do it in so remarkable and so signal a manner, ’twas that the Fame of it might have a good Effect and Influence on many others. But what’s all this to the Laws of Honorius, and the Dragoons of Lewis XIV?
If Solomon advises Fathers to chastise their Children, ’tis not with a Design of infusing into ’em such or such Opinions in Religion; (there’s no need of a Rod for this, Children believe all that’s told ’em) but to correct their naughty Humors, their Truancy, their over-eating themselves, their Love of Play; which if suffer’d to grow up to confirm’d Habits, might become incorrigible.
St. Austin writes this Letter to a Donatist, who had attempted to kill himself, but was prevented by some of the Myrmidons of the Convertists: and tells him, that since they had exercis’d a just Violence on him to save the Life of his Body, by a much stronger Reason they might do so, to save the Life of his Soul. To make way for my adding a word or two more in this matter, to what has bin said in another place;159 I shall consider this Donatist, as designing to kill himself from a Principle of Conscience. It’s plain, say they, on this Supposition, that there was a just Violence exercis’d on Conscience; therefore all constraining of Conscience is not unjust.
I answer, That Conscience may be forc’d two several ways; one way, as when a Catholick is hinder’d from falling on his Knees, as the Host<497> passes by, three or four Fellows seizing and holding him in a standing Posture by main force; or else seizing one of the Reform’d Religion, and bending his Knees to the Ground, as the Host passes: The other way, as when the Alternative is set before him of abjuring his Religion, or undergoing such and such Punishments. In the first Case, the Person constrain’d is not made to sin. In the second, he’s brought into a violent Temptation, and the Constraint is very often the occasion of his sinning. They who prevented the Donatist’s killing himself, exercis’d a Violence on his Conscience, in the first way only; and consequently laid him under no Temptation to Sin, so that they ought not to be blam’d for what they did: yet their Case is not to be put in comparison with the Case of those who constrain in the second way, as St. Austin, ever unhappy in his Comparisons, wou’d do. If any one wou’d know my Opinion concerning those, who in the way first represented, shou’d hinder a Catholick’s adoring what he believes his God; or who shou’d force a Protestant on his Knees as the Host passes by: I shou’d tell him, they’d do very ill, tho they did not constrain their Neighbor to the Commission of a Sin; for there’s no Sin in kneeling before an Idol, when this Genuflexion is not an Act of the Will.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
WhileJesus Christwas upon Earth, and before the Princes of the World worship’d him, the Church made use only of Exhortation;<498> but ever since those days she has not thought it enough to invite Men to Happiness, she also forces ’em. These two Seasons are prefigur’d in the Parable of the Feast: The Master of the Family was content, for the first time, to order his Servants to bid the Guests to his Dinner; but the next time he commanded ’em to compel ’em to come in.
The Reader will find the Confutation of this Passage in the two first Parts of the Commentary.
ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
If any one will compare, what they suffer thro our charitable Severity, with the Excesses to which their Fury transports ’em against us; he’l easily judg which are the Persecutors, they or we. Nay they might justly be denominated such, with regard to us, without all this; for be the Severitys which Parents exercise over their Children, to bring ’em to a sense of their Duty, ever so great; yet they can never properly be call’d Persecution: whereas Children, by following evil Courses, become Persecutors of Father and Mother, tho possibly they may’nt be guilty of any personal Violence against ’em.
St. Austin does all he can to excuse the Violences exercis’d by his own side, on those exercis’d by the Donatists; but this is a very ill<499> Justification: the rather, beside that Example is no Authority for sinning; because they were not content to retaliate on those who had bin the Aggressors, but also involv’d the Innocent in the Punishment of the Guilty. They shou’d have bin satisfy’d with punishing the Circoncellions, and all others who had murder’d or rob’d their Neighbor; treated ’em as Ruffians and Banditti; and endeavor’d by Gentleness and calm Reasoning to bring over the rest, and not lay a Tax on Religion, nor use it as Farmers do certain Provinces, where they exercise their Depredations without Control. As the knowing whether a Son, who follows ill Courses, persecutes his Father and Mother; or whether the Father and Mother, who turn their Son out o’ Doors, who disinherit him, get him lash’d at a Whipping-Post to make him resume the Doctrines of his Catechise, which he began to suspect were naught, persecute the Son: As this, I say, turns into a Dispute about meer Words, I shan’t bestow any of my time in considering it. I’m persuaded my Readers, if they examine it, will find that a Father and Mother in several Cases deserve the Title of Persecutors, be their Intention in chastising their Son, on the score of any Heresy which he may fall into, ever so sanctify’d. St. Austin was not quite so delicate on this Head, in a former Letter,161 where he owns, that the Righteous have always persecuted the Wicked, and the Wicked have ever persecuted the Righteous.
[103. ]See above, p. 65.
[104. ]During the persecutions of Christians under the Emperor Diocletian some Christian clergy had surrendered their sacred books, the Bible, to the persecutors, who burnt them. After the persecution ended the North African province of the Church was divided by a controversy between those who had handed over the Bible and those who had not. The followers of Donatus held that clergy who were traditores (“handers over”) could not validly baptize or ordain. This view was rejected by the Roman Church as heresy, on the argument that the sacraments of baptism and ordination are effective by Christ’s power, independently of the character of the human minister. Augustine (in our translation called “St. Austin”) argued that the Catholics were justified in applying to the Roman Emperor to repress the Donatists by force. The emperors Constantine (d. 337) and Honorius (d. 423) did issue edicts against the Donatists, which were enforced by Roman officials in North Africa. Augustine had earlier held that religious dissenters should not be coerced (“A man cannot believe unless he is willing”), but he changed his mind when converted Donatists said they were glad to have been coerced. See Joseph Lecler, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 53–59.
[105. ]Henry Noris, Vindiciae Augustinianae, quibus S. Doctoris scripta adversus Pelagianos ac Semipelagianos a recentiorum censuris asseruntur (Augustinian Vindications, by which the holy Doctor’s [Augustine’s] writings against the Pelagians and Semipelagians are freed from the censures of recent writers), 1675. For Adam see The Catholic Encyclopaedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01134d.htm.
[106. ]See above, p. 41, note. Bayle quotes extracts only, sometimes without indicating omissions, and sometimes paraphrases. In the modern numbering the Letters of St. Augustine he comments on are: 93, 185, 87, 105, 173, 89. All of these except 105 are available in translation at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102.htm. They are all translated by Sister Wilfrid Parsons for The Fathers of the Church (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1955–), vols. 18 and 30.
[* ]Discours. Prelim. de sa Reponse a l’ Apologie pour la Reformation. [Louis Ferrand, Réponse à l’Apologie pour la réformation, pour les réformateurs et pour les réformez (Answer to the apology [by Jurieu] for the reformation, the reformers and the reformed), 1685.]
[107. ]The Circumcelliones (in our translation “Circoncellions”) were bands of Donatists who physically attacked Catholics, i.e. those who accepted the Roman view.
[108. ]See above, Part II, Chapters 1 and 2, pp. 137–61.
[109. ]Virgil, Aeneid, 1.140: “That is where Aeolus can do his swaggering, confining his rule to the closed walls of the prison of the winds”; translated David West, Penguin, 1991, p. 7.
[110. ]Horace, Epistulae II.3, l. 467: “Who saves a man against his will does the same as murder him.” Translated R. Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library, 1970, p. 489.
[* ]In the fourth Chapter of the first Part. [See above, p. 86.]
[111. ]See above, Part II, Chapters 1 and 2, p. 137ff.
[* ]Prov. 27.6.
[112. ]See above, p. 86.
[113. ]See above, p. 302.
[114. ]See Genesis, c. 16.
[115. ]1 Corinthians 5:5.
[116. ]1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Timothy 2:17.
[117. ]Acts 18:17.
[118. ]See above, p. 310.
[119. ]See above, p. 152, p. 302.
[* ]Psalm 101.5.
[* ]Here, and it may be on some other occasions, we must take things without regard to the Author’s particular Opinion concerning an erroneous but justifying Conscience.
[120. ]See above, p. 86.
[121. ]See Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Rome, edn. 31, 1957, p. 370, nos. 13–15.
[122. ]Bayle’s extract from Augustine stops just short of the mention of Nebuchodonosor: “If past events in the prophetic books were a figure of future ones, in the king named Nabuchodonosor both periods were foreshadowed: that under the Apostles, and the present one in which the Church is now living. Thus, in the times of the Apostles and martyrs, that part was fulfilled which was foreshadowed when the king forced devout and upright men to adore an idol, and, when they refused, had them thrown into the fire; but, now, that part is fulfilled which was prefigured in the same king, when he was converted to the true God, and decreed for his realm that whoever blasphemed the God of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago should suffer due penalties … the latter part of that king’s reign signified the period of later faithful kings under whom the impious suffered instead of the Christians”; translated Sister Wilfrid Parsons.
[123. ]See above, pp. 100–101.
[124. ]See above, p. 161.
[* ]Thomassin de l’ Unitè de l’ Eglise, I Part. Ch. 1. [Louis Thomassin, Traité de l’unité de l’Eglise et des moyens que les princes chrestiens ont employez pour y faire rentrer aux qui en estoient séparez (Tract on the unity of the Church and the means Christian rulers have used to cause those who have separated from it to rejoin), 1693. Reviewed by Bayle, NRL, OD, p. 688.]
[* ]Le Sr. Brueys Reponse aux Plaint. [Réponse aux plaintes des Protestans contre les moyens que l’on employe en France pour les réunir à l’Eglise, où l’on réfute les calomnies qui sont contenuës dans le livre intitulé: La Politique du clergé de France, et dans les autres libelles de cette nature (Answer to the complaints of Protestants against the means being used in France to reunite them with the Church, refuting the calumnies contained in the book called “The policy of the French Clergy” [by Jurieu] and other libels of the kind), 1686. Reviewed by Bayle, NRL, OD, p. 611.]
[† ]Sermo. 66. in Cantic. [Migne, Patrologia Latina, vol. 183, col. 1101.]
[* ]Serm. 66. in Cantic. [Ibid. See DHC, art. “Bernard.”]
[† ]Nouvelles de la Repub. des Lettr. Fevr. 1686. Art. de Mr. Maimbourg. [Bayle, OD, vol. 1, pp. 493–98.]
[125. ]See Appendixes, “Bayle’s Use of Logic,” p. 580, note 3.
[126. ]The fallacy of arguing “from something true in general to something said of a particular case,” which may be an exception.
[127. ]See Appendixes, “Bayle’s Use of Logic,” p. 580 (“syllogism”).
[128. ]Ibid. (“petitio principii”).
[129. ]This and a passage quoted below come from a letter by Bossuet to a resident of his diocese, April 3, 1686, appended to the first of Jurieu’s Lettres pastorales addressees aux fideles de France qui gemissent sous la captivite de Babylon (English translation: Monsieur Jurieu’s Pastoral letter, directed to the Protestants in France, 1688; see pp. 27, 29).
[130. ]See above, p. 137.
[* ]Suite de la Critique de Maimbourg. [Nouvelles letters critiques sur l’Histoire du Calvinism, Lettre XI, sec. 2, in Bayle, OD, vol. 2, p. 236.]
[* ]Prov. 13.22.
[* ]Chap. 6. of the first Part, p. 110, &c.
[131. ]1 Kings 21.
[* ]See a Book entitled, Recueil des Maximes veritables & importantes pour l’Institution du Roi, ch. 11. [Claude Joly, Recueil de maximes véritables et importantes pour l’institution du roi contre la fausse et pernicieuse politique du cardinal Mazarin, prétendu surintendant de l’éducation de Sa Majesté (Collection of true and important maxims for the instruction of the king, against the false and pernicious policy of Cardinal Mazarin, self-styled supervisor of his majesty’s education), 1652.]
[132. ]Jean Juvenal des Ursins, ecclesiastic and writer of the fifteenth century. Passage not found.
[† ]Contra Adul. Prin. confid. 6. [Joannes Gerson, Opera omnia, ed. Du Pin, Antwerp, 1706, vol. 4, col. 623.]
[133. ]On Molina and Augustine see Appendixes, “Grace, Original Sin, Predestination,” pp. 585–87.
[134. ]“There is nothing that cannot be corrected by the Emperors, nor any fault that overcomes their office; whatever they are seen to do is permitted.” Passage not found.
[135. ]See above, pp. 316–17.
[136. ]See Appendixes, “Bayle’s Use of Logic,” p. 581 (“retorted”).
[137. ]See above, pp. 203–5.
[138. ]See Appendixes, “Bayle’s Use of Logic,” p. 581.
[139. ]See above, p. 286.
[140. ]See above, p. 199.
[141. ]See above, p. 205.
[142. ]See above, pp. 333–34.
[* ]Nouv. Lett. de l’ Auteur de la Crit. Gen. de Maimbourg, Tom. 1. [Bayle, Nouvelles Lettres, OD, vol. 2.]
[143. ]See above, p. 233.
[* ]Prov. 29.19.
[† ]Prov. 23.14.
[† ]Prov. 13.24.
[144. ]Horace, Satires, I.102: “You go on to set opposites in head to head conflict with each other”; translated R. Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library.
[145. ]See above, Part II, Chapter 1, p. 137.
[146. ]See above, pp. 294, 302.
[147. ]See above, pp. 245, 319.
[148. ]In the modern numbering, Letter 87.
[* ]That no one may suspect this Argument is not put into due form, the Reader is desir’d to consult the Logick of Port-Royal, Part 3, Chap. 12. [Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, Art de penser, ou logique (The art of thinking, or Logic), 1659.]
[149. ]See Appendixes, “Bayle’s Use of Logic,” p. 580 (“petitio principii”).
[150. ]See above, p. 334, note 129.
[151. ]See above, p. 254.
[152. ]In the modern numbering, Letter 105.
[153. ]Jeremias 23:2.
[154. ]In the modern numbering, Letter 173.
[155. ]“To compel the will.” It was held that the idea of compelling the will is self-contradictory, since compulsion is the opposite of choice, and to will is to choose. See Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, III.1, Augustine, The City of God, V.10, Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, 1, q. 82, a. 1, and 1–2, q. 6, a. 4.
[156. ]See above, p. 303.
[157. ]See above, p. 356.
[158. ]See above, p. 303.
[159. ]See above, pp. 294, 302.
[160. ]In the modern numbering, Letter 89.
[161. ]See above, p. 318.