Front Page Titles (by Subject) §44. - Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion, in Reference to Civil Society
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§44. - 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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Concerning the rights of Princes, as to Ecclesiastical Affairs. And first, of the general Inspection. But among other Considerations, as to what Rights properly belong to Princes as to Ecclesiastical Affairs, it is evident, that, since by the Doctrine of the Gospel the Civil Power is in no wise impaired, and a Prince cherishes a Church under his Jurisdiction, he legally claims a Right of having a general Inspection over this as well as all other Societies; at least, so far as to take care that nothing be transacted in these Colledges to his Prejudice. For Mankind being so perverse in its Nature, that in Matters, even the most Sacred, if managed without controul, they seldom let it slip through their hands without a Stain; And that therefore it is scarce to be questioned, but the Christian Doctrine is subject to the same Corruption, and that under Pretence of Religion many pernicious Designs may be hatched against the Interest of the Commonwealth. A Prince in whose Territories a Church is planted, if he afterwards enters into the Communion of that Church, has questionless a Right to examin what Matters, and in what Manner they are transacted in the Convention of their Presbyters, or in their Ecclesiastical Courts, if there be any such among them; Whether they do not transgress their Bounds? whether they act according to the Civil Laws, or whether they do not assume to themselves a Power to determine such Cases as properly belong to the Civil Jurisdiction? Of this Kind are Matrimonial Cases, which without Reason, and upon very slender Pretences, the Priests have drawn under their Jurisdiction, to the great Prejudice of the Sovereign Power; For, it being an unquestionable Right belonging to Sovereigns to constitute Laws concerning Matrimonial Cases, according to the Law of Nature and of God, I cannot see any Reason why they have not a Right to determine Matrimonial Differences. And because the Ministers of the Church make use of Church-discipline, the Prince may make a legal Enquiry whether, under Pretence of these Rules prescribed by our Saviour, they do not introduce Novelties, which may prove prejudicial to the State? And as these Enchroachments are no essential Part of the Christian Doctrine, but rather to be looked upon like Spots which disguise its natural Beauty; So, I cannot see with what Face it can be denied, that those ought to be taken off, especially by the Authority of those whose Interest is most nearly concerned; unless they have Impudence enough to own, that the Christian Religion may lawfully be misapplied to By-uses. And let it be granted, that every thing is transacted as it ought to be in these Conventions of the Presbyters, Consistories or Episcopal Courts, why should they be asham’d or angry at their Sovereigns taking Cognisance of their Proceedings. And this Right of Inspection does never cease after the Sovereign has once entred into the Communion of the Church, it being his Duty to take care that no Abuses may creep into the Church, in process of Time, that may endanger the State.