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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About this Title:
In this defence of religious toleration, Bayle discusses the words attributed to Jesus Christ in Luke 14:23, “And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be full.” Bayle contends that the word compel cannot mean “force.” From this perspective, he constructs his doctrine of toleration based on the singular importance of conscience. Bayle argues that if the orthodox have the right and duty to persecute, then every sect will persecute since every sect considers itself orthodox. The result will be mutual slaughter, something God cannot have intended.
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Table of Contents:
natural law and enlightenment classics
NATURAL LAW AND ENLIGHTENMENT CLASSICS
Religious Conflicts of the Times
The Argument of the Philosophical Commentary
The Influence of the Philosophical Commentary
On Bayle’s Life and Times
On Bayle’s Thought
A NOTE ON THE PRESENT TRANSLATION
Advertisement of the English Publisher.Edition: 1708ed; Page: [ii];Edition: 1708ed; Page: [iii]
THE CONTENTSEdition: 1708ed; Page: [v] OF THE WHOLE WORK [1708 Translation].
The Preliminary Discourse.
Contents of the First Part.
The Second Part.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: [xvii]The Third Part.
I.: St. Austin’s Words.
II.: St. Austin’s Words.
III.: St. Austin’s Words.
IV.: St. Austin’s Words.
V.: St. Austin’s Words.
VI.: St. Austin’s Words.
VII.: St. Austin’s Words.
VIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
IX.: St. Austin’s Words.
X.: St. Austin’s Words.
XI.: St. Austin’s Words.
XII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XIV.: St. Austin’s Words.
XV.: St. Austin’s Words.
XVI.: St. Austin’s Words.
XVII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XVIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XIX.: St. Austin’s Words.
XX.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXI.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXII.: St. Austin’s Words.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: [xxvii]XXIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXIV.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXV.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXVI.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXVII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXVIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXIX.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXX.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXI.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
Letter 164. to Emeritus.
XXXIV.: St. Austin’s Words.
Letter 166. to the Donatists.
XXXV.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXVI.: St. Austin’s Words.
Letter 204. to Donatus.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: [xxxii]XXXVII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXVIII.: St. Austin’s Words.
XXXIX.: St. Austin’s Words.
XL.: St. Austin’s Words.
Letter 167. to Festus.
The Fourth Part, or Supplement.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: A Preliminary Discourse, Containing some Remarks of a distinct Nature from those in the Commentary.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: A Philosophical Commentary On these Words of the Gospel according to St. Luke, Chap. XIV. ver. 23.
And the Lord said unto the Servant, Go out into the Highways and Hedges, and Compel them to come in, that my House may be fill’d.
Containing a Refutation of the Literal Sense of this Passage.
Part the First.
Chapter I: That the Light of Nature, or the first Principles of Reason universally receiv’d, are the genuin and original Rule of all Interpretation of Scripture; especially in Matters of Practice and Morality.
Chapter II: First Argument against the literal Sense of the Words, Compel ’em to come in, drawn from its Repugnancy to the distinctest Ideas of natural Light.
Chapter III: Second Argument against the Literal Sense, drawn from its Opposition to the Spirit of the Gospel.
Chapter IV: The Third Argument against the Literal Sense, drawn from its cancelling the Differences of Justice and Injustice, and its confounding Vertue and Vice, to the total Dissolution of Society.
Chapter V: The Fourth Argument against the literal Sense, drawn from its giving Infidels a very plausible and very reasonable Pretence for not admitting Christians into their Dominions, and for dislodging ’em wherever they are settl’d among ’em.
Chapter VI: The Fifth Argument against the literal Sense, drawn from the Impossibility of putting it in execution without unavoidable Crimes. That it’s no Excuse to say, Hereticks are punish’d only because they disobey Edicts.
Chapter VII: The Sixth Argument against the literal Sense, drawn from its depriving the Christian Religion of a main Objection against the Truth of Mahometism.
Chapter VIII: The seventh Argument against the literal Sense, drawn from its being unknown to the Fathers of the three first Centurys.
Chapter IX: The eighth Argument against the literal Sense, drawn from its rendring the Complaints of the first Christians against their Pagan Persecutors all vain.
Chapter X: The Ninth and Last Argument against the Literal Sense, drawn from its tending to expose true Christians to continual Violences, without a possibility of alledging any thing to put a stop to ’em, but that which was the ground of the Contest between the Persecutors and the Persecuted: And this, as ’tis but a wretched begging the Question, cou’d not prevent the World’s being a continual Scene of Blood.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: A Philosophical Commentary On these Words of St. Luke, Chap. XVI. ver. 23.
Compel ’em to come in.
The Second Part.: Containing a full Answer to all the Objections which may be rais’d against what has bin before demonstrated.
Chapter I: First Objection, That Violence is not design’d to force Conscience, but to awaken those who neglect to examine the Truth. The Illusion of this Thought. An Inquiry into the Nature of what they call Opiniatreté.58
Chapter II: Second Objection, The literal Sense appears odious, only by our judging of the ways of God from those of Men. Tho the State that Men are in, when they act from Passion, seems likely to lead ’em to wrong Judgments, it does not follow but God, by the wonderful Issues of his Providence, may accomplish his own Work. The Fallacy of this Thought, and what are the ordinary Effects of Persecution.
Chapter III: Third Objection: They aggravate the matter maliciously, by representing the Constraint enjoin’d by Jesus Christ, under the Idea of Scaffolds, Wheel, and Gibbet; whereas they should only talk of Fines, Banishment, and other petty Grievances. The Absurdity of this Excuse; and supposing the literal Sense, That capital Punishments are much more reasonable than the Law-Quirks, Pillorys, and Captivitys made use of in France.
Chapter IV: The Fourth Objection: We can’t condemn the literal Sense of the words, Compel ’em to come in, but we must at the same time condemn those Laws which God gave the Jews, and the Conduct of the Prophets on several occasions. The Disparity, and particular Reasons for giving the Old Law, which don’t take place under the Gospel.
Chapter V: The Fifth Objection: Protestants can’t reject the literal Sense of the Parable, without condemning the wisest Emperors and Fathers of the Church, and without condemning themselves; since they in some places don’t tolerate other Religions, and have sometimes punish’d Hereticks with Death: Servetus for example. The Illusion they are under who make this Objection. Particular Reasons against tolerating Papists.
Chapter VI: Sixth Objection: The Doctrine of Toleration can’t chuse but throw the State into all kinds of Confusion, and produce a horrid Medly of Sects, to the scandal of Christianity. The Answer. In what sense Princes ought to be nursing Fathers to the Church.
Chapter VII: The seventh Objection: Compulsion in the literal Sense cannot be rejected without admitting a general Toleration. The Answer to this, and the Consequence allow’d to be true but not absurd. The Restrictions of your Men of Half-Toleration examin’d.
Chapter VIII: Eighth Objection: Compulsion in the literal Sense is maliciously misrepresented, by supposing it authorizes Violences committed against the Truth. The Answer to this; by which it is prov’d, that the literal Sense does in reality authorize the stirring up Persecutions against the Cause of Truth, and that an erroneous Conscience has the same Rights as an enlighten’d Conscience.
Chapter IX: An Answer to some Objections against what has bin advanc’d in the foregoing Chapter concerning the Rights of an erroneous Conscience. Some Examples which prove this Right.
Chapter X: A Continuation of the Answer to the Difficultys against the Rights of an erroneous Conscience. An Examination of what they say, that if Hereticks retaliate on those who persecute ’em, they are guilty of Injustice. Arguments to prove, that a false Conscience may sometimes excuse those who follow it, tho not in all Cases.
Chapter XI: The Result from what has bin prov’d in the two foregoing Chapters; and a Confutation of the literal Sense, let the worst come to the worst.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: A Philosophical Commentary
I.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
II.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
III.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
IV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
V.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
VI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
VII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
VIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
IX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
X.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XIV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XVI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XVII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XVIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XIX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXIV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXVI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXVII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXVIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXIX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Letter 164,148 to Emeritus.
XXXIV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Letter 166,152 to the Donatists.
XXXV.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXVI.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Letter 204,154 to Donatus.
XXXVII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXVIII.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XXXIX.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
XL.: ST. AUSTIN’S WORDS
Letter 167,160 to Festus.
Edition: 1708ed; Page: a SUPPLEMENT to the Philosophical Commentary on These Words of Jesus Christ,
Compel ’em to come in.
THE PREFACEEdition: 1708ed; Page: 
Edition: 1708ed; Page: a SUPPLEMENT to the Philosophical Commentary on These Words of Jesus Christ,
Compel ’em to come in.
Chapter I: General Considerations on St. Austin’s Argument in defence of Persecution; shewing, That he offers nothing which may not be retorted, with equal force, upon the persecuted Orthodox.
Chapter II: A Confirmation of the foregoing Chapter, chiefly by a new Confutation of the Answer alledg’d at every turn against my Reasonings; to wit, That the true Church alone has a Right to dispense with the natural Rule of Equity, in her Proceedings against Hereticks.
Chapter III: The new Confutation of the fore-mention’d Answer continu’d, and supported by two considerable Examples.
Chapter IV: Another way of considering this second Example.
Chapter V: An Answer to the first Disparity which may be alledg’d against my Examples; to wit, That Hereticks, in giving an Alms, do well, because they give it to those to whom God intended it shou’d be given; but do ill, in compelling to come in, because this Command relates only to those who are in Error. I here shew, by just Examples, that Heretick Judges wou’d obey God in punishing the Orthodox, if the Principle of Persecutors hold good.
Chapter VI: A Parallel between a Judg who shou’d punish the Innocent, and acquit the Guilty, from an Error in point of Fact, and a Heretick Judg who shou’d condemn the Orthodox.
Chapter VII: Whether Heretical Ecclesiasticks may be blam’d for having a hand in the Trials and Condemnation of the Orthodox.
Chapter VIII: An Abstract of the Answer to the first Disparity.
Chapter IX: That a Judg who condemns an innocent Person, and acquits a Malefactor, sins not, provided he act according to Law.
Chapter X: An Answer to a second Disparity; to wit, That when a Judg gives Sentence against a Person falsly accus’d of Murder, it’s an Ignorance of Fact; whereas if he condemns as Heresy what is really Orthodox, it’s an Ignorance of Right. I shew that it’s as hard to discover the Truth in Charges of Heresy, as in those for Murder.
Chapter XI: An Answer to a third Disparity; which is, That in Criminal Trials, the Obscurity arises from the thing it self; whereas in those of Heresy, it proceeds from the Prepossession of the Judges. I answer, That even disinterested Judges, as the Chinese Philosophers for example, wou’d find our Controversys more intricate, and harder to be decided, than Civil or Criminal Causes.
Chapter XII: A particular Consideration of one of the Causes which renders the Controversys of these times so cross and intricate; to wit, That the same Principles which are favorable against one sort of Adversarys, are prejudicial in our Disputes with others.
Chapter XIII: An Answer to the fourth Disparity; which is, That when a Judg is deceiv’d in a Cause of Heresy, he is guilty in the sight of God; because the Error in this Case proceeds from a Principle of Corruption, which perverts the Will: an Evil not incident to a Judg, who is deceiv’d in Trials for Murder or Adultery. I shew, that were this the Case, each Sect wou’d be oblig’d to believe, that those of other opposite Sects never pray’d for the Assistance of God’s Spirit to direct ’em in reading his Holy Word.
Chapter XIV: Examples shewing that Men continue in their Errors against the Interests of Flesh and Blood, and their own Inclinations.
Chapter XV: That the Persuasion of the Truth of a Religion, which Education inspires, is not founded on a Corruption of Heart.
Chapter XVI: That the strong Belief of a Falshood, attended even with the rejecting those Suspicions which sometimes arise in our Minds, that we are in an Error, does not necessarily proceed from a Principle of Corruption.
Chapter XVII: An Answer to what is objected, That all Errors are Acts of the Will, and consequently morally evil. The Absurdity of this Consequence shewn; and a Rule offer’d for distinguishing Errors, which are morally evil, from those which are not.
Chapter XVIII: A Discussion of three other Difficultys.
First Difficulty. Knowing the Obliquity of the Motive, is not necessary towards denominating an Action evil.
Chapter XIX: The Conclusion of the Answer to the fourth Disparity.
Chapter XX: The Conclusion and Summary View of the general Consideration, hinted at in the Title of the first Chapter.
Chapter XXI: An Answer to a new Objection: It follows from my Doctrine, that the Persecutions rais’d against the Truth are just; which is worse than what the greatest Persecutors ever pretended.
Chapter XXII: That what has bin lately prov’d, helps us to a good Answer to the Bishop of Meaux demanding a Text, in which Heresys are excepted out of the number of those Sins, for the punishing of which God has given Princes the Sword.
Chapter XXIII: A Summary Answer to those who fly to Grace for a Solution of these Difficultys.
Chapter XXIV: Whether the Arguments for the Truth are always more solid than those for Falshood.
Chapter XXV: A new Confutation of that particular Argument of St. Austin, drawn from the Constraint exercis’d by a good Shepherd on his Sheep.
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.
Chapter XXVII: That Sodomy might become a pious Action, according to the Principles of our modern Persecutors.
Chapter XXVIII: An Examination of what may be answer’d to the foregoing Chapter.
Chapter XXIX: The surprizing Progress which the Doctrine of Compulsion has made in the World over many Centuries, tho so impious and detestable. Reflections on this.
Chapter XXX: That the Spirit of Persecution has reign’d, generally speaking, more among the Orthodox, since Constantine’s days, than among Hereticks. Proofs of this from the Conduct of the Arians.
Chapter XXXI: That the first Reformers in the last Age retain’d the Doctrine of Compulsion.
The Language of the Translation
Obsolete or Unusual Words or Meanings
Bayle’s Use of Logic
Religious and Philosophical Controversies
Faith and Heresy
Trinity and Incarnation
Grace, Original Sin, Predestination
Church and State
The Rule of Faith
Reason the Fundamental Rule
Alterations to the 1708 Translation