Front Page Titles (by Subject) §40. - 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:
§40. - 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:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
Concerning the condition of the Church under Christian Princes. The next thing which deserves our Consideration is, whether the Church is, and how far it received any Alteration from its former Condition, after Princes, whole Kingdoms, and States did profess the Christian Religion. Where it is to be observed, That the Churches did thereby not receive any essential Perfection; it being evident, that the Christian Religion could be exercised, and subsist without the State; and Commonwealths did not depend from the Christian Religion; The scope of the Christian Religion, and of civil Governments, being quite different in their own nature. For, our πολιτευμα, our Conversation is in Heaven; and, if in this Life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all Men most miserable.194 For this Reason it was, that the Apostles were never forward to appear before Princes, tho’ they might have obtained an easie Access by their miraculous Deeds. So Herod was exceeding glad when he saw Jesus, because he hoped to have seen some Miracle done by him.195 But they were very cautious in this point, lest it might appear to some, as if the Gospel wanted to be maintained by Human Strength, or that perhaps those Princes might pretend to a greater Authority over them, than was consistent with the safety of the Christian Religion. Notwithstanding all this, the Christian Religion does not in any wise impair or ecclipse the legal Rights of Sovereigns, but rather confirms and establishes the civil Power, as is apparent out of several passages in the holy Scripture.196 If it should be granted that the Church was a State independent from any temporal Jurisdiction, the consequence would be this, That the civil Power could not but receive a most remarkable Limitation and Diminution, and the condition of a Subject must receive a great alteration; whereas on the other hand, the condition of Christians, or of Teachers in the Church (considered as such) is neither abolished nor altered, because either the Prince, or the Subjects in general do receive the Christian Faith, there being not the least footstep to be met withal in the Scriptures, implying any such alteration: Besides this, there is not any express Command in the New Testament, directed to Sovereigns, which entitles them to any particular Prerogative in the Church, like to that which the Kings of Israel had received in the 17 Chap. of Deuteronomy: From whence arises this conclusion, that, what right Sovereigns can claim in the Church, and Church Affairs, must be deduced, either out of the natural constitution of the civil Power, or out of the true Genius of the Christian Religion, or else must owe its off-spring to the free consent of the Church.
[194.]Philipp. 3:20; 2 Cor. 5:2, 8; 1 Cor. 15:19.
[196.]Matt. 22:21; John 9:11; Rom. 13:1ff.; 1 Cor. 15:24; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14.