Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter XXVI: A small Sketch, representing the Enormitys attending the Doctrine of Compulsion by some new Views, as the destroying the Rights of Hospitality, Consanguinity, and plighted Faith. - A Philosophical Commentary on These Words of the Gospel, Luke 14.23, 'Compel Them to Come In, That My House May Be Full'
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Chapter XXVI: A small Sketch, representing the Enormitys attending the Doctrine of Compulsion by some new Views, as the destroying the Rights of Hospitality, Consanguinity, and plighted Faith. - 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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A small Sketch, representing the Enormitys attending the Doctrine of Compulsion by some new Views, as the destroying the Rights of Hospitality, Consanguinity, and plighted Faith.
In a marginal Note towards the beginning of this Continuation of my Commentary, I promis’d to go back once more to the Argument made use of in the* fourth Chapter of the first Part,291 the sum of which is; That the Execution of the Command, Compel ’em to come in, obliging the Orthodox to pill and pillage the Houses of Hereticks, drive ’em out of their Country, confine ’em to Prisons or Monasterys, the Fathers and Husbands of one side, the Wives and Children of another, send ’em away to the Gallows or Gallys; it must necessarily follow, that the same Actions which wou’d be a formal Violation of the Decalogue, if the constraining Hereticks to change Religion, were not their true End and Aim, become good Works when perform’d from such a Motive. Now from hence it manifestly<730> follows, that all sorts of Sins cease to be such, when committed from a design of forcing those into the Communion of the Church who are gone astray; and consequently, that the Interest and Aggrandizement of the true Church, is the surest Test of discovering, whether an Action be just or unjust: so that the more an Action is capable of crouding the Church with Infidels and Sectarys, the more easily it passes from Iniquity to Piety.
If so, behold all the Bands burst, and all the Dutys broken which tie Men to each other; either by the general reason of their partaking all of the same specifick human Nature, or by particular Reasons of Consanguinity, or mutual Contract.
I. On the bare score of Humanity, Reason requires, if a Tempest casts Men away on a strange Coast, that the Inhabitants shou"d endeavor to save ’em from the Billows of the Sea, and afford ’em some refreshment of Food and Raiment. But this Obligation, according to the Principles of our modern Convertists, is no more than a Chimera: for if they follow the Doctrine of Compulsion, they must, instead of going forth with Food and Clothing to these miserable Creatures, who are laboring to save themselves the best they can, by swimming, or on broken Planks, meet ’em with a Formulary or Profession of Faith ready drawn, and with Pen in hand require ’em to sign incessantly, or declare in case of refusal, that they"l drive ’em out again to Sea, or let ’em perish with Cold and Hunger on the bleak Sands. The best Terms they can expect, is allowing ’em three or four days to get instruc-<731>ted; but no Quarter after that, unless they sign. Who"d have imagin"d, that Christianity countenanc"d so barbarous an Inhospitality? which the Companions of Eneas complain"d of so movingly before, Chap. 2.292 Yet as it might be an infallible means of propagating the Faith, the Inhumanity is metamorphos"d into a most charitable Work; as in all like Cases, the refusing an Alms to a perishing starving Beggar, unless he promises to come over into the Bosom of the Church.
I don’t pretend to advance it as Fact, that this Inhumanity is practis’d in the Countrys of the Inquisition; I know there have bin Refugees of France, who forc’d by stress of Weather into some Ports of Spain, have got off at a cheaper Rate, by suffering some few Insults and Indignitys, and promising to embark as soon as possible, after having satisfy’d the Avarice of those who threaten’d ’em with the Inquisition. Yet who doubts but the Quality of disaffected Frenchmen was of great Service to ’em in Spain? Who doubts but the necessity the Spaniards are under of keeping fair with some Protestant States, obliges ’em to abate of their usual Rigor on the Article of Compulsion? Finally, the Question is not so much about what is actually practis’d, as what their Doctrine inspires, and will naturally lead to, when they don’t apprehend ill Consequences from it.
II. As to the Rights or Obligations of Blood and Consanguinity, they can’t on these Principles be a jot more sacred than those of Humanity: it shall be lawful in a Father, if his Son, either by his own reading or the Instructions of others, thinks himself oblig’d to change Reli-<732>gion, to treat him like a Scullion, diet him with Bread and Water, turn him out of Doors, and absolutely disinherit him; till these temporal Afflictions make him resume his former Belief. A Son on the other hand, who changes to the true Religion, and sees his Father persist in his Heresy, may refuse him in his old Age all the Offices and Assistances of natural Duty; and which is worse, threaten him unless he abjure. A Daughter may insult her Father and Mother who won’t change as she has done, and even tell ’em she’l turn Whore, unless they give her the Satisfaction of coming into the Bosom of the Church; and if Threats fail, she’l do well to be as good as her word, and lie with every Fellow in her way, as long as her Father and Mother persist in their Obstinacy. And if by this means she shou’d happen to bring ’em over, she fulfils that Scripture which the Convertists keep such a stir with, Imple faciem eorum ignominia, & quaerent nomen tuum Domine; Fill their Faces with shame, that they may seek thy Name, O Lord. Shou’d any one pretend to tell me she commits a Sin: Yes say I, if she had not in view the converting her Father and Mother from their Heresy; but this being her end, the Action loses its sinful Quality, as well as Robbery, Imprisonment, Death, ordain’d and inflicted on innocent Souls, with a design to compel ’em in.
III. As to the Religion of an Oath or solemn Contract, the thing in the World that’s strongest founded on the first Principles of Morality, and the most necessary to the Being of human Society; it shall no more escape uncancel’d, than the other Dutys of Humanity,<733> wherever there’s a probability that the violating our Word or Oath may bring Hereticks into such a Pinch, that they shall be oblig’d to sign a Formulary. This is so true, that as the Church of Rome has signaliz’d it self more than any other Religion in Acts of Violence upon Conscience, so none has weaken’d the Obligation of keeping Faith and Promises so much as she: And asking t’other day a Friend of vast reading, for my own is very small, whether he ever met with an Example of a Catholick Sovereign who had kept his Word concerning Religion with his Subjects of a different Religion; he answer’d, he never had, and that he did not believe there was one such instance in Story; and therefore he never was surpriz’d at the late Proceedings in France, having always expected ’em: whereupon he told me, he mightily approv’d a Passage at the seventy third Page of a small Treatise entitl’d, Ce que c’est que la France toute Catholique,293 which says, ’Twere Charity not to put Catholicks to their Oath.
A Sample of this Matter taken from the late Persecution in France.
The Truth of what I have bin just saying, has bin sufficiently experienc’d in France, within a few Years last past; all the Tyes of Blood and Affinity, good Neighborhood, old Friendship, and Hospitality trod under foot: and bating that they did not cut Peoples Throats, ’twas the perfect Image of the terrible Proscriptions under Marius and Sylla, and the Triumvirate in Rome;294 when ’twas Death for a Father or Mother to conceal their own Son, or help him to make<734> his Escape; and when the best Friend, or Slave, or freed Servant who had receiv’d the greatest Benefits from his Master, was requir’d to discover his Friend or Master, on pain of Proscription.
It’s notorious to all in France, that the Inns or Hotels were forbid at their Peril to entertain those of the Reform’d Religion, to give ’em a Night’s Lodging, to receive or secure any of their Goods, or contribute in any kind of manner to their avoiding the Vexations of the Dragoon Crusade. A Landlord who did not turn his Protestant Guests out of Doors, or give in their Names to the Directors of the Conversions, was liable to the heaviest Punishments; so that this was truly the Emblem of the Iron Age, non hospes ab hospite tutus.295 A near Relation, a Friend convicted of concealing his Friend, his Relation, his Children, or his Goods, in a Vault or Cockloft, was liable to the same Punishment; and what’s still more strange, ’twas made a Crime in a Husband to send his Wife out of the way, in a Father not to hinder his Children’s making their Escape: and hence it was that after a Man, quite weary of his Garison, had sign’d the Formulary, and hop’d thereby to enjoy some respite, he found himself in a few days after crouded with new Lodgers, upon pretence that all his Children were not forthcoming, and that his Wife lay conceal’d. The holding a Correspondence by Letters with Brothers, Sisters, Children, Father or Mother fled for Refuge into foreign Parts, is a matter of no small danger in France, for those who have sign’d; and this is the reason why they dare<735> not write directly to ’em, nor express themselves but in Enigmas, for fear their Letters shou’d be intercepted and open’d.
If there be Children who hearken more to the Voice of Nature than to that of the wicked Religion, which they have at least outwardly embrac’d; I mean, such as endeavor to make private remittances to their Fathers and Mothers, who are in an indigent Condition in foreign Parts; this is a Crime which seldom goes unpunish’d if discover’d. Did ever any one read or hear of a more odious, a more crying Violation of all the Dutys which Nature and right Reason enjoin?
I don’t touch upon that Breach of Faith, and that Contempt of the most solemn Engagements, which has bin so notorious in the whole course of this Persecution, and particularly in the Edict of Revocation;296 because this Matter has rung sufficiently all over Europe. I shall only say a word or two on the ungrateful returns made to the important Services of Mareschal Schomberg,297 which I hope will not be thought a Digression; this Vice of Ingratitude being the Violation of a tacit and implicite Contract, which challenges as religious an Observation from every well-born Soul, as those which are sign’d and seal’d before a Notary and Witnesses.
A short Reflection on the Dealings with Mareschal Schomberg.
This Mareschal merited so much the greater regard from the Kings of France, and Portugal, as having bin born a Subject to neither, he had<736> the Fortune of doing ’em both the most important Services, with the utmost Fidelity.
Yet he was forc’d in his old Age, by an Order from the first of these Princes, to quit France his adopted Country; where he had marry’d a Wife, and purchas’d a considerable Estate in Lands. This same Order having specify’d Portugal for the Place of his Retreat, he there hop’d to pass the remainder of his Life in Peace, on account of the long and very great Services he had done that Court; yet nothing was capable of securing him from the Persecutions of the Inquisition, neither the remembrance of the Obligations which they had to him, nor the Regard which the Portugueze ought to have had for any thing recommended to ’em by the King of France, to whom they owe the Honor of not being a Province of Spain, and who sustains ’em with a high Hand, even at a time when he cannot do it without violating one of the most express Articles of the Pyrenean Treaty; which has expos’d his Reputation, and drawn on him a thousand Reproaches of Breach of Faith in a world of Libels. So the Mareschal was forc’d to decamp once more, and seek an Asylum far enough out of reach of the Wolf’s Paw, I mean the Countrys in which Popery reigns.<737>
[* ]See also the Answer to St. Austin’s twelfth Argument, P. 3. [See above, p. 318.]
[291. ]See above, p. 86.
[292. ]See above, p. 418.
[293. ]Bayle, OD, vol. 2, p. 346b.
[294. ]See above, p. 55, note 24.
[295. ]Ovid, Metamorphoses, I.144: “Guest was not safe from host”; translated Frank J. Miller, Loeb Classical Library, p. 13.
[296. ]See above, p. 195, note 82.
[297. ]Friedrich de Schomberg, 1615–1690, German soldier who served in various countries including France, Portugal, and England; killed fighting on the Protestant side in the Battle of the Boyne.