Front Page Titles (by Subject) §31. - Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society
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§31. - 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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The Condition of the primitive Church was such, as not to permit a Sovereignty within it self. But; besides what has been said already, a great many Reasons may be alledged, which sufficiently prove, that it was not in the power of the Apostles, to plant a Church, resembling in Power, to a Temporal Sovereignty, if they had entertained any Thoughts of attempting a Design both unnecessary and illegal. The common Security is the main End of every Government, whereby Men are enabled to defend themselves by their united strength against all Injuries; which cannot be performed without a considerable number of stout and well appointed Men. But the Name of the Church, is often given to the Congregations of an indifferent Town, nay even of private Families; And does not our Saviour himself say? Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.152 Which moved Tertullian to say: Three make up a Church, as well as a Colledge.153 And where Christ is in the midst of a Congregation, certainly there cannot be wanting sufficient Means to obtain Salvation, viz. the Word, the Minister, and the Sacraments; so, that the end and scope of the Christian Religion may be attained to, even in an indifferent numerous Congregation of the Believers. Neither does the greater number of the Believers joyned in one Church (like a vast number of People is necessary for the erecting of a State) in it self considered, add any thing, or is necessary for the obtaining the end of the Christian Religion, it being indifferent, in regard of obtaining Salvation; whether a Man worship God in a great or small Congregation. From whence this inference may be made, That, in case, the greatest part of the Church should separate itself from the others, the rest, notwithstanding all this, may pursue and obtain the End of the Christian Faith; Quite otherwise as it is with Temporal Commonwealths, where, if the greatest part of its Inhabitants happen to be rooted out, the rest will be thereby disinabled to maintain the State. These Qualifications belonging to Subjects; especially to such of them as are to be preferred before others in a State, either for their Usefulness, or the honour of the Commonwealth are not esteemed the same in the Church, so, that he, who does not excel in Riches, Strength or Wisdom, shall therefore not be deemed a good Christian.154 Furthermore; those that pretend to lay the Foundation of a new State, must have Territories belonging to them, where their new Subjects may settle themselves and their Fortunes. And, all such as live, or are seated in a Commonwealth, if they pretend to set up a new State, must either transplant themselves into another Country, or else overturn that Government, under which they then live. So, when Moses delivered the Israelites from the Aegyptian Bondage, he led them into the Desarts of Arabia. And, when Romulus had resolved to erect a new Commonwealth, he first withdrew himself from the Subjection of the Kings of Alba; and such of the Neighbouring Countries, as were for being Members of that new Commonwealth, did leave their former Habitations, and settled themselves in Rome. But neither Christ, nor his Apostles, did ever remove Christians from their Habitations to other Places, but allowed every body to remain in the same Station, and under the same Government, without the least prejudice to the former Rights of their Sovereigns over them. From whence it is evident, that the Christians, tho’ never so numerous, could not be in a condition to settle themselves under any one State of their own. For, since, according to the Rules of the Christian Religion, the Rights of Sovereigns over their Subjects Lives and Goods, are not taken away or impair’d, and no body can be subject to two Masters, there could be no pretence of erecting a new Sovereignty; especially in the midst of another Commonwealth, nay, it was beyond their Power, even to enter into such a Society, as should be in the least prejudicial to the Rights of their present Sovereigns.155 Who can be so ignorant in civil Affairs, as not to understand, what prodigious Sums of Money are required for the maintaining of a State. And, tho’ the Rights of Sovereigns do not extend so far as to take away from Subjects the private disposal of their Goods; nevertheless may they lawfully restrain the Extravagancy of their Subjects, if they pretend to dispose of their Goods in prejudice of the State. For; if this Liberty should be granted to the Subjects without limitation, the State, if deprived of its nourishment would quickly be reduced to a languishing condition, or else, private Men might be enabled to erect a new State in the midst of the old one, or at least, to impair, and endanger the Publick Safety. And, since those Sovereigns, under whose Jurisdiction the Apostles lived, had the same Right over the Fortunes of their Subjects, as other Governments have; and the Rights of Sovereigns were not taken away, by the Doctrine of Christ, there could be no other provision made for the maintainance of those Congregations, (as such) but what was consistent with the lawful Rights of their Sovereigns, and as much only as might lawfully be given by private Persons; which could not exceed a private Fortune, and were nothing more than Voluntary Contributions or Alms; And, whatsoever of any real Estate was attributed to these Uses, was thereby not exempted from paying of Taxes, no more than the Estates of other Subjects.
[153.]Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullian, On Exhortation to Chastity (De exhortatione castitatis), chap. 7. [SZu]
[154.]1 Cor. 1:20, 21, 22.
[155.]Rom. 13:1ff.; Pet. 2:13.