• A moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian religion, and a despotic Government to the Mohametan. The Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the Gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.As this religion forbids the plurality of wives, its princes are less confined, less concealed from their subjects, and consequently have more humanity. They are more disposed to be directed by laws and more capable of perceiving that they cannot do whatever they please. While the Mohametan princes incessantly give or receive death, the religion of the Christian renders their princes . . . less cruel. The prince confides in his subjects, and the subjects their prince.

    How admirable the religion which, while it only seems to have in view the felicity of the other life, continues the happiness of this! It is the Christian religion that . . . has hindered despotic power. From the Characters of the Christian and Mohametan religions, we ought, without any further examination, to embrace the one and reject the other; For it is much easier to prove that religion ought to humanize the manners of men than that any particular religion is true.

    It is a misfortune to human nature when religion is given by a conqueror. The Mohametan religion, which speaks only by the sword, acts still upon men with that destructive spirit with which it was founded.

    When the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the North embraced the Protestant, and those of the South adhered still to the Catholic. The reason is plain: the people of the North have, and will forever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the South have not; and therefore a religion which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independence of the climate than that which has one.

    When a religion is introduced and fixed in a State, it is commonly such as is most suitable to the plan of Government there established . . . that the Catholic religion is most agreeable to a Monarchy, and the Protestant to a Republic . . . In the countries themselves where the Protestant religion became established, the revolutions were made pursuant to the several plans of political Government.

    Luther having great princes on his side . . . and ecclesiastical authority . . . while Calvin, having to do with people who lived under Republican Governments . . . Each of these two religions was believed to be perfect; The Calvinist judging his most comformable to what Christ had said, and the Lutheran to what the Apostles had practiced.

    I have always respected religion; the morality of the Gospel is the noblest gift ever bestowed by God to man. We shall see that we owe to Christianity, in Government, a certain political law, and in war a certain law of nations benefits which human nature can never sufficently acknowledge. The principles of Christianity, deeply engraved on the heart, would be infinitely more powereful than the false honor of Monarchies, than the humane virtues of Republics, or the servile feal of despotic states. ~Montesquieu (the most quoted philosopher of our founders), The Spirit of Law, 1778

Published in: on December 15, 2015 at 12:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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