In the late 17th century, John Locke delivered a less subtle rebuke of the use of force in religion. At this time, some were beginning to fear that Catholicism would overtake England. In a letter addressed to an anonymous friend, Locke set forth a new understanding of the relationship between religion and government while emphasizing the importance of religious toleration:
I have attempted to trace a theme through the centuries and through various traditions, but this theme, that there is no compulsion in religion, is even deeper, even wider, more over-arching and at the same time more specific than history or the pen can tell. Nevertheless, perhaps better than most, an anonymous poet has captured essence of the freedom of religion:
"Know then that ev'ry soul is free,
To choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is given,
That God will force no man to heaven."
(Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 240)