Front Page Titles (by Subject) §21. - Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society
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§21. - 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).
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Whether the power of Teaching does indirectly imply any Command. But it may perhaps be objected, That the Apostles and their Successors, might at least by indirect ways and means, exercise an Authority over Christians, viz. by denying them the Doctrine of the Gospel, which shews Men the way to Salvation, unless they would in other Matters also submit themselves to their Authority. For, who would not rather submit to any thing than to be deprived of that Doctrine, which leads us to Heaven, and frees us from eternal Punishment? But it cannot in the least be supposed, that such Extortions could ever enter into the Apostles Thoughts, who joyfully gave for nothing, what they had received for nothing, and judged it a heinous Offence in Simon, who pretended to make a Trade of the Gospel. St. Paul says: Though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for Necessity is laid upon me; yea, wo is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.77 Neither do I see, which way they could have made their market by the Gospel. For, what is not understood, is not valued; if therefore they would raise in the People a desire to the Gospel, it must of necessity be first taught them. Neither is there any Reason to suppose, that the same Men, who rather would loose their Lives than neglect their Divine Commission, should be guilty of so hainous a Crime. And the Doctrine of the Gospel, being now a-days sufficiently spread abroad, it would be in vain for the Clergy of one Province or Commonwealth, to deny the Doctrine of the Gospel to its Inhabitants, in case they would not comply with their Demands; since, if they should persist in their Folly, there would not be wanting such as would supply their Places without reluctancy. Neither did Christ absolutely commit his Doctrine to the sole Management of the Priests, in such a manner, as by Tradition to be transplanted from one to another; but, he ordered it to be put in Writing, not to be kept close up by any one certain Colledge or Society, who were invested with a particular Prerogative to look into it, like it was at Rome, with the Sybilline Oracles;78 and granted a general Priviledge for every Body to peruse it, and to instruct themselves in the Christian Doctrine, and in such other Points as belonged to the Ministry of the Gospel. But if a foreign Priest should attempt to forbid the exercise of Religious Worship in another Commonwealth, scarce any body, unless quite prepossessed with Superstition, would make the least account of it. The Venetian Commonwealth has given us a notable instance of this Nature in our Age; For, tho’ the Venetians are Roman Catholicks, nevertheless did they oblige their Priests to exercise the Ministerial Function, in spite of the Pope’s Commands to the contrary.
[77.]1 Cor. 9:16.
[78.]Pufendorf speaks of the “Sibylline Books” (libri Sibyllini). This collection of sibylline prophecies was offered for sale to Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the seven kings of Rome, by the Cumaean sibyl, a legendary prophetess. He refused to pay her price, so the sibyl burned six of the books before finally selling him the remaining ones. The books were kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, to be consulted by a committee first of two, later of ten, and eventually of fifteen priests on official request by the Senate. The translator obviously confused the Sibylline Books with the Sibylline Oracles. The latter consist of a collection of oracular prophecies in which Jewish or Christian doctrines were allegedly confirmed by a sibyl, that is, a legendary Greek prophetess. The prophecies were actually the work of certain Jewish and Christian writers from about 150 b.c. to about a.d. 180. [SZu]