129. 3. IT IS A LAW OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE THAT MAN SHOULD NOT BE COMPELLED BY EXTERNAL MEANS TO THINK AND WILL, AND THUS TO BELIEVE AND LOVE, THE THINGS OF RELIGION, BUT SHOULD PERSUADE AND AT TIMES COMPEL HIMSELF TO DO SO.
This law of the Divine Providence follows from the two preceding which are, that man should act from freedom according to reason (n. 71-99); and that he should do this of himself although from the Lord, thus as of himself (n. 100-128). Since being compelled is not acting from freedom according to reason, and is not from oneself but is from what is not freedom and is from another, therefore this law of the Divine Providence follows in order after the two former. Moreover, everyone knows that no one can be compelled to think what he is not willing to think, and to will what his thought forbids him to will, and thus to believe what he does not believe, and certainly what he is not willing to believe, and to love what he does not love, and certainly what he is not willing to love; for a man's spirit or mind is in full liberty to think, will, believe and love. It is in this liberty by virtue of influx from the spiritual world which does not compel, for man's spirit or mind is in that world, but not by virtue of influx from the natural world, which is not received unless the two act as one.
 A man may be compelled to say that he thinks and wills the things of religion, and that he believes and loves them; but if they are not, or do not become, matters of affection and consequently of his reason, he nevertheless does not think, will, believe and love them. A man may also be compelled to speak in favour of religion and to act according to it; but he cannot be compelled to think in favour of it from any faith in it, or to will the things of religion from any love of it. Moreover, in kingdoms where justice and judgment are guarded, everyone is restrained from speaking and acting against religion; but still no one can be compelled to think and will in favour of it. For it is within the liberty of everyone to think with hell and to will in its favour, and also to think and will in favour of heaven; but reason teaches what man's nature is in the one case and in the other, and the nature of his abiding lot; and it is from reason that the will has liberty to choose and make its selection.
 From these considerations it can be seen that the external may not compel the internal; nevertheless, this is sometimes done, but that It is pernicious will be shown in the following order:
I. No one is reformed by miracles and signs, because they compel.
II. No one is reformed by visions and by conversations with the dead, because they compel.
III. No one is reformed by threats and punishments, because they compel.
IV. No one is reformed in states that are not of rationality and liberty.
V. It is not contrary to rationality and liberty to compel oneself.
VI. The external man must be reformed by means of the internal, and not the reverse.