Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"


(Code penal, Art. 291.) This law has heretofore placed
tyrannical powers of repression and restriction in the hands
of the provincial prefects, but since 1859 the council of state
gives the necessary permission in such cases. This certainly
is not religious freedom, as understood among us.

It has been seen in the course of this sketch that the prac-
tice has been almost universal until modern times of estab-
lishing state churches ; that lawgivers in ancient times acted
on the principle that the state must maintain existing religions
and exclude others ; that among the Jews and under the
Christian emperors of Rome one exclusive religion only was
tolerated ; that Protestantism began on this plan and had to
persecute in order to carry it out; that, finally, only a few
nations in quite recent times have made the church entirely
free and separate from the state. Men have pleaded longer
for toleration than for separation ; the Baptists of Rhode
Island being the first to make the latter a distinct point iri
their state polity. In this close connection of the state and
church some of the wisest and best of men have concurred ;
they have gone, in fact, on the assumption that no other plan
was possible. On what grounds did they come to this con-
clusion ? What were their theories of the right of so doing
and their views of the good to result ? Let us turn to the
opinions of a few of them, and then try to discover whether
established religions, and the close connection of church and
state, have brought in their train those benefits either to reli-
gious or to political society which were expected by philoso-
phers or by Christians.

Of the opinions which prevailed among the wisest of the
Opinions on the Greeks, Plato in his Laws will be admitted to
relations of religion
to the state.            have been the best exponent.    The work opens
with the question put to the Cretan who is about to found a
new colony, by the Athenian speaker in the dialogue, whether
the Cretan laws are to be ascribed to a God or to some man.