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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

456                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
appeared, which again divided Christians, and the leading
contentions now were those touching the right of separation.
Again, when the order and discipline of churches was settled
in various protestant lands, the prince, as representing the
people, took the lead in the work. New establishments came
into the place of the old, and dissenters, objecting perhaps in
nothing save points of order, complained that they were not
tolerated, Hence, discussions arose as to the right of free
worship, to the relation of the state to the church, and this
question touching the outward side of Christianity, which for
some ages has been ever rising in importance, is now more
interesting than any other.
This brief sketch seems to show the richness and vitality
of the Christian religion. Beyond its simple elements of faith
it can thrive and bless the world under various modifications
of doctrine, but refuses to be kept in any strait-jacket of
theological statements that will continue to bind through the
ages. Its simple rites have been taken hold of and interpre-
ted on the slenderest grounds into astounding miracles. Such
is its largeness of heart, that it can edify and purify many,
whether they put the simple or the mystical interpretation on
the sacraments. It subsists under any form of church order,
and beautiful Christians appear in the society of Friends, where
there is no church order. It has been a blessing in those coun-
tries where it is governed by the state, as well as where it is
independent of the state ; but the question is whether it would
not be a blessing to the world in a higher degree, if discon-
nected from the stateónay, whether both church and state
would not fulfil their ends better, if they discharged their
offices without partnership, each freely acting for itself.
From what has been said of the attitude of the pagan Roman
Treatment of Chris- emperors towards religion before  Christianity
tianity by Christian                    -        ...               , -                        .,                    t r
emperors.              was authorized, it would seem quite natural lor
the later emperors, after Constantine's profession of Chris-
tianity, to pursue a similar policy in a contrary direction.
If the Christians had been punished as atheists, or as holding
unlawful assemblies, the heathen might, when the Christian