He was then urged to publish this letter on toleration; it was accordingly printed in Latin in 1689. In the same year it was translated into English and published in London. Locke's Letter aroused an antagonist--in Queen's College, Oxford--and led to a second and a third letter in 1690 and 1692. His death in 1704 prevented the completion of a fourth in defense of his position.
The stand taken by Locke made him a great champion of religious liberty. Locke believed that every church is orthodox to itself, that it is more important to root out immorality than to eliminate sects, that outward force cannot compel the understanding, that magistrates should be limited in their use of force to the preservation of peace. He held that the church might dismiss members, but that they should not be roughly used. Locke used interesting illustrations, he supposed that an Arminian and a Calvinist church in Constantinople acted as they have in western Europe, the Turks would laugh at them. Locke also supposed a small group of Christians settling in a pagan country, where they are tolerated, grow stronger, and assume power. "Are they then to overthrow idolatory" Locke's answer is an emphatic negative.
Moreover, John Locke discussed fully the limits of the civil power, a field in which he was very much interested. He then took up the various articles of faith, and the extent of toleration. ...Show more