Open Book Publishers logo Open Access logo
  • button
  • button
  • button
GO TO...
book cover

13. Pierre Bayle (1647-1706), On Tolerance, or A philosophical Commentary on these Words of the Gospel, Luke XIV. 23, Compel Them to Come in, 168622

Pierre Bayle, a thinker and a Protestant, in exile and aware of the acts of violence committed against Protestants in France, might instinctively have adopted the cause and anger of his co-religionists.23 Instead he wrote a text dismissing the fanatics in both camps.

God presents the truth to us in such a way that he requires us to examine everything before us, and to investigate whether or not it is true. Now, we can deduce from this that he asks nothing of us other than to examine and investigate what is before us and to do this with care, and that he will be satisfied so long as, once we’ve examined it to the best of our ability, we accept as true those objects which seem to be true, and so long as we love them as a gift from heaven. It is impossible for a sincere love of any object which, once we’ve examined it most carefully, we accept as a gift from God, and which we only love because of our conviction that it comes to us from God, to be a bad thing, even were that conviction to be mistaken.

Read the free original text online (facsimile), 1686 edition:

22 Pierre Bayle, Commentaire philosophique sur ces paroles de Jésus-Christ Contrains-les d’entrer, ou Traité de la tolérance universelle, A Cantorbery chez Thomas Litwel’, 1686, p. 525.

23 Portrait of Bayle, engraving by Pierre Savart (1774):