Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I.: Of Religion in general. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. I.: Of Religion in general. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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Of Religion in general.
AS amidst several degrees of darkness we may form a judgment of those which are the least thick, and among precipices, which are the least deep; so we may search among false religions for those that are most conformable to the welfare of society; for those which, though they have not the effect of leading men to the felicity of another life, may contribute most to their happiness in this.
I shall examine therefore the several religions of the world, in relation only to the good they produce in civil society; whether I speak of that which has its root in heaven, or of those which spring from the earth.
As in this work I am not a divine, but a political writer, I may here advance things which are no otherwise true, than as they correspond with a worldly manner of thinking, not as considered in their relation to truths of a more sublime nature.
With regard to the true religion, a person of the least degree of impartiality must see, that I have never pretended to make its interests submit to those of a political nature, but rather to unite them; now, in order to unite, it is necessary that we should know them.
The Christian religion, which ordains that men should love each other, would, without doubt, have every nation blest with the best civil, the best political laws; because these, next to this religion, are the greatest good that men can give and receive.