Front Page Titles (by Subject) §10. - Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
§10. - Samuel von Pufendorf, Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society 
Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society, trans. Jodocus Crull, ed. and with an introduction by Simone Zurbuchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Who was the Supream Head of the Jewish Church. But, because God himself had Established the Jewish Religion and Ceremonies and fortified them by very severe Laws, no body upon Earth had Power to make the least alteration in them, or to add any thing to, or to diminish from them. The Kings, Saul and Usiah paid dearly for it, because they attempted to interfere with the Levites in their Office. And those of the Jews that introduced a Foreign Religious Service, are in the Holy Scripture Branded with Infamy. So that their Kings had no further Power in Religious Concerns, than the Supream Inspection, that every one in his Station (not excepting the High Priest himself) did Exercise his Office, according to God’s Commands; and that the Ecclesiastical Constitutions were kept inviolable. Neither did the Tribe of Levi, or the Priestly Order make up a separate Body independent from the State, but they were actually considered as part of the Nation, and Subjects of their Kings; who, as we read, sometimes Deposed them for several Crimes, and if negligent in their Office, used to give them severe Rebukes. King David went further, for he, to maintain a decent Order in the Church, disposed the several Ecclesiastical Functions among the Priests and Levites, and ordered that the Singers and Door-waitors should take their places by Lott, which nevertheless was not done without the Advice of the Chief Men and Elders of the People, and the whole Tribe of Levi. In so doing, he did not assume to himself the Power of Disposing or Altering any thing in their Religion, but only over those that were Ordained by God Almighty for that Function, viz. to Establish such an Order among them, the better to enable them to Exercise their Function without Confusion.26 For, when afterwards, instead of the Tabernacle, a Temple was to be Erected, that is to say, when instead of a slight and decayed Building, a most noble and firm Structure was to be built, the same was not undertaken without God’s Advice. This Temple being the Principal of all Publick Structures, it was the King’s Care to see it Repaired in due time, who also might levy a Tax for that use, and provide for the necessary Expences of the Workmen; it is very remarkable, that we do not read in the Scriptures, that any of those Kings that introduced Foreign Service among the Jews, did ever attempt to force by Threats, or otherwise, their Subjects to such a Worship, but rather by several Allurements enticed them to follow their Example, and that such as were thus seduced, did, as well as their King, receive Condign Punishment from God, accordingly; And that such among the Jews as abhorred this Idolatry, ought not to be look’d upon as Rebellious Subjects upon that score, but as Persons that did bear this Publick Calamity with Patience. And, as those Kings, that Abolished Idolatry and Foreign Worship amongst the Jews, are highly extolled in the Scriptures, so those Impious Kings, that were the Authors of this Idolatry, were by the high Rank, they bore in the State, exempted from the ordinary Punishment, which according to God’s Ordinance, was else to be inflicted upon all others, that should attempt to introduce Idolatry. Lastly, another remarkable Observation may be made as to the Jewish Religion; that, whereas there was so strict an Unity betwixt the State and Religion, that the latter might justly be called the Foundation Stone of the first, and God had expresly enjoyned them an exact observance of it, under forfeiture of the quiet Possession of that Country, where their Commonwealth was Established; the Felicity of the State, depended absolutely from the due observance of that Religion, and the Civil Magistrates were to take cognizance of all such Matters, as might prove either dangerous or destructive to it; as it may plainly appear by the Law of God, prescribed in this behalf, in the Books of Moses.
[26.]4 Chron. 24:3, 4, 5.