A Philosophical Commentary on These Words of the Gospel

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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.

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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