Front Page Titles (by Subject) §22. - Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society
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§22. - 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 Absolution imply’s any right to a Sovereignty? It seems to be a Matter of the greatest Consequence, and therefore the more to be taken notice of, when it is said: That our Saviour did give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St. Peter, and the rest of his Apostles; so, that, whatsoever they should bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever they should loosen on Earth, shall be loosened in Heaven.79 The whole Matter, duely examined, appears to be of the highest moment, viz. to have the Power of excluding Sinners from the Kingdom of Heaven, and of admiting such as are freed by their Absolution; for what is it, that may not be obtained from a Sinner in this case, especially if the Priest refuse him Absolution, unless he promises a blind Obedience to his Demands? It ought therefore to be taken into serious consideration, what is the true meaning of this Metaphorical Locution, viz. The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; since the same admits of divers Explications in the holy Scripture. In the Rev. 1:18. the Son of God says of himself, That he has the Keys of Hell and of Death, which is explained by some, that he has the Power of inflicting Punishment, as if he would say: I have power to destroy both Soul and Body in Hell, as it is expressed in St. Matthew 10:28. Tho’ by this also might be understood, the power of delivering from Death and Hell, and to destroy the force of Death and Hell. It is also spoke of the Scribes, That they have the Key of Knowledge,80 which is by some applied to their Function of Teaching Wisdom to others. Tho’ this may also be understood from the holy Scripture it self, the true Spring of Knowledge and Wisdom, the Interpretation of which did in a most peculiar manner belong to their Function. In the Book of Revelation, the Son of God is said to have the Key of David, that he opened, and no Man shutteth, and shutted, and no man opened.81 And in the 22th Chapter of Isaiah, it is said of Eliakim, the Son of Hilkiah; That the Key of the House of David shall be laid upon his Shoulder; so, that he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.82 Where the word, Key, cannot be taken for an absolute or despotick Power, but for a Ministerial Function; like to that of a Steward, such a one as St. Paul had professed himself, and his Fellow Apostles.83 Out of these several places, if duely compared, this general Assertion may be made, that, to have the Keys of a certain thing, is as much as to say, to have the means to attain, or to come to it. But how far these Means are at our disposal, and what use ought to be made of them, must be gathered out of other Circumstances.
[79.]Matt. 16:19; John 20:13.
[81.]Rev. 3:7, 9:1.
[83.]1 Cor. 4:1.